NBI warns: Don't buy Marcos paintings
MANILA, Philippines – Buyers beware.
This was the warning issued by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to possible buyers of Marcos paintings which are believed to have been acquired with embezzled state funds. These paintings must be turned over to the government; being found to be in possession of them could result in being criminally charged.
The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan had earlier ordered the temporary seizure of high-end paintings in the possession of the Marcoses. These included paintings by Picasso, Miro, Michelangelo, and Gauguin, among others.
A joint team from the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and the NBI raided the home of former first lady Imelda Marcos in San Juan on Tuesday, September 30, to enforce the court ruling, and seized 5 paintings. They were brought to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for safekeeping. Not all art work, however, have been recovered.
Eric Isidoro, NBI-Reaction Arrest and Interdiction Division acting chief said those who buy the paintings with the full knowledge that government is after them may be charged with qualified theft since they are already considered stolen items to begin with.
Isidoro said they will need the help of experts and the PCGG to help identify the paintings and verify if they are authentic.
He also said the Marcoses can still ask the Sandiganbayan that the paintings seized in San Juan be returned to them if they are able to prove these were not part of the items the anti-graft court had ordered to be turned over to the government. It will be up to the Sandigan justices, Isidoro said.
The Sandiganbayan listed about 140 paintings for seizure by authorities. These included, among others, Madonna and Child by Michelangelo, Femme Couchee VI by Pablo Picasso, and L’Aube by Joan Miro. – Rappler.com
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