Philippines sells off Marcos property for $2 mn

The Philippine government on Tuesday auctioned off a prime property once owned by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos for more than $2 million.

The 3,900-square-metre (41,000-square-foot) lot in the mountain resort city of Baguio was acquired by a real estate firm for 93 million pesos ($2.16 million), said Nick Suarez, of the Presidential Commission on Good Government.

"It was a very successful, transparent bidding," and the final price was more than three times the minimum bid, added Suarez, whose agency is tasked with recovering the ill-gotten wealth of Marcos.

However another Marcos property, a 4,000-square-metre lot on Manila bay with a minimum price of 278.6 million pesos, failed to sell after no bidders showed up, he said.

Both properties were surrendered to the government by Marcos crony Jose Yao Campos in 1986 in exchange for immunity after a popular revolt toppled the regime earlier that year.

Marcos ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, much of the time as a dictator. His family and their henchmen 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 settlements with the new government.

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

It is not the first time the commission has sold off assets recovered from the Marcoses and their cronies, with the funds raised previously used for land reform.

In October, a lot in an upper-class enclave of Manila also surrendered by Campos was sold for 127 million pesos.

The commission said that at least 93.4 billion pesos have been recovered from the Marcoses and their allies so far. But it has long complained that the lack of a paper trail and delaying tactics by lawyers for the Marcos estate have hampered its efforts.

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