Philippines to sell properties of ex-dictator Marcos

The Philippines said Saturday it will auction off two properties once owned by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos for at least 315.8 million pesos ($7.3 million).

Prime real estate in a Manila suburb and the northern mountain resort city of Baguio will be sold through public bidding on April 24, said a government agency set up to recover the ill-gotten wealth of Marcos and his cronies.

The two properties, totalling 7,913 square metres (85,170 square feet), were surrendered to the government by Marcos croney Jose Yao Campos in 1986 after a popular revolt toppled Marcos earlier that year.

"We are confident that... the strategic location of the properties (would) attract more bidders, generating higher value," said Roger Amurao, commissioner from the Presidential Commission on Good Government.

The Manila property is located opposite a major leisure and casino project while the one in Baguio is situated near popular tourist attractions, the commission said.

Marcos ruled the country from 1965 to 1986, much of this time as a dictator. His family and their allies are accused of stealing billions of dollars in state funds during this period.

While Marcos and his family fled abroad after his downfall, some of his key allies surrendered assets they were holding for the ex-president as part of settlement deals with government.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government aims to use the recovered funds for a land reform programme.

The commission said that 93.4 billion pesos had so been recovered. The agency hopes to claw back 405.7 million pesos this year.

However the commission has long complained that the lack of a paper trail and delaying tactics employed by lawyers for the Marcos estate prevented it from recovering more.

Although Marcos died in exile in 1989, his family has since returned to the Philippines. His widow Imelda Marcos and their son, also named Ferdinand, were elected to parliament in 2010.

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