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PCGG exec rues Arroyo’s decision to stop sale of Imelda jewelry

By Michelle Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:23:00 05/28/2010

Filed Under: Government, Graft & Corruption

MANILA, Philippines ? Presidential Commission on Good Government Commissioner Ricardo Abcede expressed regret over President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?s decision to hold off plans to sell sets of jewelry seized from former first lady Imelda Marcos.

He said the government could have pursued even just the appraisal of the jewelry.

Abcede noted that with the President?s decision, the next administration would have to go through the tedious process of selling the jewelry all over again.

On Wednesday, a representative from Christie?s auction house arrived in Manila to start the appraisal process. On Thursday night, the representative of competing auction house Sotheby?s also came to Manila to do the same.

However, the decision of Arroyo forced Abcede to break the disappointing news to the foreigners?that they had to postpone the appraisal.

?I am quite embarrassed because their efforts [of coming over to Manila] were wasted,? Abcede said, noting that Thursday?s event was the fourth time the Philippine government had held off plans to sell the assets, which could help beef up government revenues.

If he were the one to call the shots, Abcede said, the Arroyo administration could have allowed even just the appraisal of the jewelry so that the Aquino administration would no longer have to observe the process, should it decide to sell the jewelry.

?I hope that even with the decision [to hold off plans to sell the jewelry], they [auction houses] will still be willing to help us,? Abcede said.

Still, he said, he was just a government servant and would not contradict the President?s order.

?I am just a public servant and I was just doing my job. I don?t want to be involved in any political matters [surrounding the sale of the jewelry],? Abcede said.



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