Preventing historical distortion: PCGG's rebuttal to the Marcoses and case to recover 200 missing artworks

04.27.2016
Politics Society

Read PCGG's rebuttal to the Marcos family's ongoing counter-arguments and its work to prevent the distortion of history through denial and misinterpretation.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) will present additional evidence on May 19, 2016 in the case filed before the Sandiganbayan seeking to recover more than 200 artworks believed to be in the possession of the Marcos family and which form part of the ill-gotten wealth the family amassed in the two-decade Marcos regime. The case was filed through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) under the leadership of Solicitor General Florin Hilbay.

Beginning last March 17, the initial presentation of witnesses lined up to prove that such paintings were indeed acquired and in possession of the Marcoses. Meanwhile, the Marcoses were given a period of 30 days to comment on the Republic’s motion. 

Read here PCGG's rebuttal to the Marcos family's ongoing counter-arguments and its work to prevent the distortion of history through denial and misinterpretation.

By The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) 

A number of the paintings, which disappeared at the height of the 1986 EDSA revolution, have been previously sighted prominently hanging and displayed in the residences of the Marcos family. These paintings include works by Michaelangelo, Monet, Picasso, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Degas, Mondrian, Gobillard, Francis Bacon, Robie, Sisley, Chagall, Goya, Matisse, Cezanne and other known masters. The Marcoses and their agents purchased the paintings from known galleries in the United States and Europe such as Hammer Galleries, Knoedler-Modarco S.A., Stair-Murdock Fine Arts and Marlborough Fine Art.

By any stretch of their known income as shown by their Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), the Marcoses could not have possibly afforded to legally acquire all of these paintings and other decorative arts by means of their own income and related resources. According to the legal documents and evidence in PCGG’s possession, the paintings were acquired during the height of the Martial Law in the 70s, a period when there were no credible financial disclosures made by the Marcoses on their family finances and spending. It is important to note that this time period was concurrent with the most destructive Philippine economy crisis in modern history.

The Marcos family’s record of illegal accumulation of wealth, illegally acquired assets and diversion of the Philippine people’s money is indisputable. The acquisition cost in 1970’s of these paintings were valued in excess of USD $24 million at that time. Factoring inflation, that amount today is equal to almost USD $150 million.

As the Filipino people suffered the economic crisis of the 1970s, the Marcos family amassed a collection of artworks including more than 200 paintings of historical value and international masterpiece quality that can rival any other country’s national gallery.

The efforts of the PCGG in filing the case began during the time of then Chairman Andres D. Bautista, spearheaded by former Commissioner Maita Chan Gonzaga. It took the new PCGG more than five years to gather the necessary documents, evidence and testimonies before the OSG was able to file a strong case on behalf of PCGG.

PCGG Chairman Richard T. Amurao said the length of time to prepare the case has not dampened the government’s desire nor its ability to make the Marcos family accountable for the missing paintings and to return these paintings to their rightful owners, the Filipino people. 

The filing of this case is a part of the Commission’s continuing efforts to help prevent the distortion of our history by denial and misinterpretations of the concerned personalities.

Chairman Amurao added, “It is our unending belief that there should be no 'statute of limitations' on justice. And we will continue our pursuit of justice as long as we shall be so empowered.” The filing of this case is a part of the Commission’s continuing efforts to help prevent the distortion of our history by denial and misinterpretations of the concerned personalities.

As part of its efforts to intensify the search for the vast collection of artworks worth millions of dollars, the PCGG launched recently the Missing Art Movement through its website (missingart.ph) where the general public and global art world can inform the Philippine government should they have knowledge of any of the more than 200 missing artworks. So far, there have been some initial leads from the public about a few of the missing paintings.

The PCGG encourages everyone to help in getting back the missing artworks so that their true owners, the Filipino people, can genuinely benefit from them. The Commission recently commemorated its 30th Anniversary wherein the main thrust is to 'Recover Integrity.'

In line with this, the PCGG is also gathering information concerning reports on the so-called Panama papers, a list of powerful and known personalities worldwide with offshore holdings exposed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Hundreds of personalities and rich Filipinos were listed in the leaked documents including Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, the daughter of the late Ferdinand Marcos, and her three sons. Such documents revealed how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.

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