The Philippines’ tourism department said Thursday that it was considering a proposal to exhibit jewelry seized from former first lady Imelda Marcos in an effort to attract tourists.
The proposal was made by the Presidential Commission on Good Government, an agency tasked with recovering billions of dollars of allegedly ill-gotten wealth of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and his family.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said that while the idea had “tremendous potential,” his department had concerns about the venue, timing and appropriateness of such an exhibit.
“There is a certain irony to a display of jewelry in a country such as the Philippines, which is beginning to shun ostentation,” he said.
The Philippines wants to auction off seized Marcos jewelry — estimated to be worth $20 million — but court cases and disputes over location have stalled attempts to sell the collection.
Ferdinand Marcos ruled for 20 years before he was ousted by a “people power” revolt in 1986, forcing him and his family to flee in self-imposed exile to Hawaii, where he died in 1989.
Imelda Marcos and her three children returned to the Philippines in 1992 and now hold elected government positions.