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Marcos family's entire art collection 'unlawfully acquired' – Sandiganbayan

MANILA, Philippines – The entire art collection of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' family was “unlawfully acquired,” the anti-graft court's first division ruled on Wednesday, December 18, 

The 42-page judgment on Civil Case No. 0141 ordered the forfeiture of the family’s “ill-gotten wealth” in favor of the Philippine government. 

It was penned by Sandiganbayan First Division Associate Justice Efren de la Cruz. Associate justices Alex Quiroz and Oscar Herrera Jr concurred.

The Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG) considered the decision its “fourth straight victory.” 

In 2003, the PCGG won the forfeiture of $658 million held in several secret Swiss foundations created by Marcos and his wife Imelda. In January 2014, the Sandiganbayan awarded to the State Imelda’s jewelry collection valued at $153,089. In August that year, the court declared that the government owned the $42-million Arelma accounts,

The Sandiganbayan said the evidence met the law's requirements for the forfeiture of unexplained wealth.

“RA 1379 provides that whenever any public officer or employee has acquired during his incumbency an amount of property manifestly out of proportion to his salary…and to his other lawful income, said property shall be presumed prima facie to have been unlawfully acquired,” the court said.

The Sandiganbayan said the Marcoses failed to prove how they lawfully acquired the money to acquire a massive collection of artworks between 1972 and 1985. 

Testimonies and documents submitted in court showed the artworks were worth a grand total of $24,325,500. Most of them were acquired through the then-first lady’s close associates and personal secretary, Fe Roa Gimenez.

“In sum, petitioner Republic was able to establish the prima facie presumption that the paintings and artworks valued at US$24,325,500 acquired by the respondent spouses were significantly out of proportion to their aggregate salaries of $304,372.43 as public officials,” the Sandiganbayan said.

The court ordered the family and said agents, representatives, and nominees to cease and desist from disposing, transferring, or selling the artworks and to render an accounting of all such assets still in their control as well as those that have already been sold.

They were also directed to “surrender the paintings and/or divulge their current location.” – Rappler.com