Speaker denies blocking seizure of Imelda’s paintings

The Marcoses in their past “grandeur” when the late dictator Ferdinand Edralin Marcos was starting to rule the Philippines for 20 years.

The Marcoses in their past “grandeur” when the late dictator Ferdinand Edralin Marcos was starting to rule the Philippines for 20 years.

MANILA (Mabuhay) – House Speaker Sonny Belmonte on Thursday said he had nothing to do with the failure of the Sandiganbayan to seize some paintings from the office of Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos.

“They came, they saw, they did not get anything. I was informed after the event,” Belmonte said.

Asked if he stopped the court personnel serving the orders, Belmonte said: “We did not even know till after the fact. As far as I’m concerned we have nothing to do between Imelda and the [Presidential Commission on Good Government] except to monitor for info purposes.”

ABS-CBN visited the office of Rep. Marcos on the 2nd floor of the North Wing of Batasan Pambansa and spotted 6 paintings in the staff area.

Marcos, however, declined requests for interviews or to take footage of the paintings.

The Sandiganbayan earlier issued a writ of attachment for 24 artworks in Marcos’ possession, which were supposedly acquired with public funds. The PCGG has already seized 15 of the paintings from the Marcos family’s San Juan City residence.

On Tuesday, Sandiganbayan sheriffs and agents of the National Bureau of Investigation, along with representatives of the PCGG and Office of the Solicitor General, failed to confiscate the artwork in Imelda’s office due to lack of clearance from the Office of the Speaker.

Romulo Barrozo, sheriff of the House of Representatives, placed the nine paintings under custodia legis by signing the back of each artwork and serving a duplicate copy of the writ of attachment on Mrs. Marcos’ chief-of-staff Filadelfo Diaz to prevent the same from being moved without court approval.

The nine paintings found in Marcos’ office are Michelangelo Buonarotti’s Madonna and Child; Vase of Red Chrysanthemums by Bernard Buffet; Still Life with Idol by Paul Gaugin; L’ Aube by Joan Miro; Femme Cauchee VI by Pablo Picasso; Jardin de Kew Prés de la Serre, 1892 by Camille Pissarro; La Baignade au Grand Lemps by Pierre Bonnard; Picnic (Grandma Moses) 1959 by Anne Mary Robertson; and Moon Madness 1982 by Andrew Wyeth.

The artworks now under the custody of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas include three Madonna and Child paintings; a Femme Au Chapeu (Woman in Hat); five Vase De Fleurs (Vase of Flowers), the Paysage; a Jeune Femme En Rouge; a Coupe De Fleurs, a Panier De Fruits and a Jeune Femme Shabilant “Chavalet,” all by Paule Gobillard, and a Picasso Replica Bass Strokes painting.

The former First Lady gained notoriety for her collection of shoes and love for art amid the poverty and corruption during her husband’s 20-year rule.  (MNS)

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