THE Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) said it will enlist the help of international experts in assessing seized masters’ paintings from the possession of former First Lady Imelda Marcos and her family in San Juan City (Metro Manila).
PCGG Chairman Andres Bautista told radio station dzMM on Wednesday that they cannot yet estimate the value of the paintings, which the government claims to have been stolen.
Some of the paintings confiscated from Mrs. Marcos on Tuesday were supposedly reproductions.
There is still no plan on what to do with the paintings since there is no final decision whether these are ill-gotten.
Until then, all the paintings will have to be deposited at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Bautista said.
In the meantime, the PCGG will continue to search for the more than 100 paintings that the Marcoses supposedly collected during their reign.
“The 15 paintings in the writ of preliminary attachment issued by the Sandiganbayan are just a few of the 150 paintings we are searching for,” Bautista said.
Among those ordered confiscated by the Sandiganbayan include: Madonna and Child by Mi-chelangelo Bounarroti; Femme Couchee VI (Reclining Woman VI) by Pablo Picasso; Portrait of the Marqueza de Sta. Cruz by Francisco de Goya; Still Life with Idol by Paul Gaugin; LaBaignade Au Grand Temps by Pierre Bonnard; Vase of Chrysanthemums by Bernard Buffet; Jardin de Kew pres de la Serre 1892 by Camille Pisarro; and L’Aube by Joan Miro.
Bautista said “we will continue to search for the other paintings. To recall, a (Marcos’) former aide was arrested for trying to sell a Monet in New York.”
He was referring to former Imelda Marcos aide Vilma Bautista, who was convicted for illegally selling a 1899 Monet painting entitled “Japanese Footbridge Over Water Lily Pond in Giverny” from her former boss’ collection.
The painting was worth $32 million.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) dispatched several teams on Tuesday to recover the paintings covered by the writ of attachment.
In the San Juan City house alone, authorities were able to recover eight large paintings.
The search at Mrs. Marcos’ office at the House of Representatives yielded reproductions.
Rommel Vallejo, NBI Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime Division chief and head agent, said an inventory is ongoing,
“Of the four known addresses that we visited, it was only in the Marcos’ house in San Juan where we were able to recover eight paintings. But as of now, they are still doing the inventory,” he added.
Bautista dismissed the claims of the Marcos camp that the seizure of the paintings was illegal.
He said it was a court decision to have the paintings seized, citing the PCGG’s loss of its sequestration powersyears ago.
The lawyer for the former First Lady claimed the paintings were covered in the fraud and racketeering charges that she had faced in New York back in 1991.
She was eventually acquitted and she is now asking why the government wants the paintings again.
“That’s not true. We never got the paintings from her from the very start,” Bautista said.