Sandiganbayan names National Museum as official repository of 15 paintings seized from the Marcoses

By , on February 3, 2015

National Museum of the Philippines (Wikipedia)
National Museum of the Philippines (Wikipedia)

MANILA — Sandiganbayan named the National Museum as the official repository of 15 paintings seized by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on September 30 from the Marcos family in connection with a pending ill-gotten wealth case.

In a five-page resolution issued on Monday, the court’s Special First Division ordered the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Sheriff and Security Services Office to transfer the artworks to the National Museum from BSP’s Compartment No. 12 where they were turned over by the NBI for safekeeping.

The special anti-graft court noted that the manifestation of Director Jeremy Barns that the National Museum “has the technical, curatorial, and organizational expertise needed to properly care for and manage the subject paintings.”

Barns added in his manifestation that the museum is ready to assist the PCGG and the Sandiganbayan to preserve the condition of the artworks while under custodia legis (court custody) pending final determination of legal ownership.

The move was supported by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the agency that was specifically tasked to go after hidden assets of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, his family and close associates.

A list submitted by Sheriff Albert A. de la Cruz showed among the seized paintings were three copies of “Madonna and Child” by Michael Angelo Buonarroti; 11 works by Paule Gobillard including five versions of “Vase De Fleurs (Vase of Flowers), “Femme Au Chapeau” (Woman with a Hat), “Paysage”, “Jeune Femme En Rouge”, “Coupe De Fleurs”, “Panier De Fruits”, “Jeune Femme S’habillant / Chavalet”; and a Picasso Replica Bass strokes.

BSP Cash Department manager Divina L. Hernandez informed the court that her office cannot vouch for the authenticity and genuineness of any of the artworks taken from the Marcos residence in San Juan City.

BSP officials likewise said that it has no suitable long-term storage for the paintings, some of which are already showing signs of damage and deterioration.

The anti-graft court issued a garnishment order on 156 artworks by European artists last September 29 after declaring them to be part of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family.

Aside from the 15 paintings now with BSP, nine other artworks displayed in the office of Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos at the House of Representatives have likewise been attached by court sheriffs.

The 85-year old widow of former President Ferdinand Marcos has petitioned the court to lift the garnishment and return the 15 paintings on the ground that Civil Case no. 0141, which was cited as the basis by the Sandiganbayan directive, has already been resolved with finality 11 years earlier.