By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

MALACAÑANG on Monday said the family of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos is allowed to participate in the auction of “ill-gotten” jewelry seized from former first lady and now Ilocos Norte-2nd district Rep. Imelda R. Marcos.

Ay siyempre, dahil everybody, wala namang prohibition doon ‘di ba, auction eh (Of course, because [it is] for everybody. There is no prohibition because it is an auction),” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a press briefing at the Palace when asked if the Marcos family can bid for the jewelry.

Asked if the Marcos family may be prohibited from participating in the auction, Mr. Panelo said: “I don’t think so, kung (if it is) auction. I do not know of any law prohibiting any person from bidding, if you are qualified. Unless there are requirements for a qualification na gagawin nung auctioneer (to be determined by the auctioneer). Kung meron eh (If there are,) you will have to pass through the qualification.”

Mr. Panelo said “only the courts can stop the sale” of the said jewelry.

He also said Malacañang will oppose any efforts from the Marcos family to stop the public auction, saying: “If they do, then we will oppose it.”

“Because that’s the right thing to do. We feel that as the President says, the proceeds have to go to the Filipino people who are in urgent need of government aid,” he added.

Mr. Panelo continued, “[A]s far as we are concerned, these properties have been declared to be ill-gotten, that’s why precisely it is to be solved. If that was the court decision, then we have to abide by it.”

Sought for comment, Law and Business professor Antonio A. Ligon of De La Salle University said in a phone interview: “The general rule is that in auction, anyone can participate. So, we will have to just review if the proceeding of the auction will exclude them. But it will really be ironic if you will see those who supposedly had taken [the jewelry] illegally, taking it back because they have the money to buy it…. That will be questionable.”

He added:“If you read the law on auctioning, it is available for the public. Normally, in ordinary cases, the owner themselves can buy. But in this case, it is declared to be an illegally gotten wealth….I’m sure, when they auction it, they will come up with guidelines. I think they will take that into consideration.”