When Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos fled the country on Feb. 25, 1986, First Lady Imelda was forced to leave behind the 3,000 pairs of shoes that would place her in the record books. But she wasn't traveling light: when the couple landed in Hawaii, the U.S. Customs Service confiscated Pampers boxes stuffed with jewelry, including a gold crown and three gem-encrusted tiaras (not to mention $200,000 worth of gold bullion and $1 million in Philippine pesos). And that's just what they managed to load onto the C-141 cargo plane to Hawaii: back at Malacañang Palace, officials discovered a stash of jewelry estimated by the government to be worth $310 million, while a further $13 million in gems (which Marcos has admitted were hers) were confiscated from a Greek national attempting to leave the country a few days later.
Now, after nearly 20 years, the Philippine government wants to cash in on that trove, saying it was paid for with public funds. It has invited three different auction houses—Christie's, Sotheby's and Bonhams—to examine 760 pieces in the collection. Representatives of Christie's flew in last week to inspect three crates of gems. Marcos, who claims the jewels are her private property and that some are heirlooms, is having none of it. The former First Lady filed a 10-page petition before a Manila court last week asking for a restraining order to prevent an auction from being held by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the task force assigned to track down the Marcoses' illicit wealth. "Enough is enough," she told reporters last Thursday. "What this government is doing to me is no longer right ... Why are they selling my jewels, which are mine and mine alone?"
Read the rest of the story at http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/article/0,13673,501050926-1106463,00.html