The Sandiganbayan has ordered that the paintings earlier confiscated from former First Lady Imelda Marcos be transferred from the central bank to the National Museum.
The anti-graft court ordered the seizure of the paintings last September pending resolution of a civil dispute between the State and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Marcos and the heirs of late President Ferdinand Marcos.
Pursuant to the order, acting chief Albert dela Cruz of the court’s Sheriff and Security Services deposited 15 paintings with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for safekeeping.
BSP, however, moved for the transfer of the paintings, saying it has no suitable place to store valuable artwork.
In a five-page resolution promulgated on February 2, the court’s Special First Division said, “Wherefore, in light of all the foregoing development and for the preservation and conservation of the subject paintings, the court resolves to note that the BSP does not vouch for the authenticity and genuineness of the 15 paintings; the general condition of the said paintings upon their turnover to the BSP… the observation of the BSP that the paintings are in such condition that their quality will deteriorate within six months if stored or kept at Compartment No. 12 and would still deteriorate even if transferred to an ideal storage area.”
The court resolved to order the transfer of the paintings from Compartment No. 12 to the National Museum.
“For this purpose, the BSP is hereby directed to coordinate with the Office of the Clerk of Court of this Division within five days from receipt hereof,” it said.
The court’s Sheriff and Security Services office was also ordered to assist the clerk of court’s office for the transfer of the paintings and to make a report within five days after the transfer is accomplished.
First Division Chairman Efren dela Cruz penned the ruling, concurred in by Associate Justices Alex Quiroz and Maria Cristina Cornejo.
The 15 paintings deposited with the BSP by court sheriffs were the Madonna and Child by Michelangelo (3), Picasso Replica Bass Strokes as well as works by Paule Gobillard including Vase de Fleurs (5), Femme Au Chapeau, Paysage, Jeune Femme En Rouge, Coupe de Fleurs, Panier de Fruits and Jeune Femme Shabilant (sic) “Chevalet.”
The paintings, which allegedly form part of Mrs. Marcos and the heirs’ ill-gotten wealth, were placed in a highly-secure vault called “Compartment No. 12” of the BSP’s Currency Management Sub-sector, which the central bank said was not an ideal storage area.