Philippine National Police

Negros Occidental museum hires private sleuth to find stolen Amorsolo painting

Ambo Delilan

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Negros Occidental museum hires private sleuth to find stolen Amorsolo painting

CRIME SCENE. The Hofileña Museum in Silay City, Negros Occidental, where the 1936 Fernando Amorsolo painting 'Mango Harvesters' was stolen on July 3.

Hofileña Museum

Silay City's police chief says they respect the Hofileña family's decision but will continue to pursue the art thieves and recover the painting

BACOLOD, Philippines – The family running the Hofileña Museum in Silay City, Negros Occidental, has hired a private detective to help them find a stolen painting by the late national artist Fernando Amorsolo.

A member of the family, Reñe Hofileña, confirmed to Rappler on Tuesday, July 9, that they contracted the services of a Manila-based detective to locate the 1936 Amorsolo art piece, “Mango Harvesters.”

It was Hofileña’s late brother Ramon who acquired the painting, which was stolen from the private museum on Cinco de Noviembre Street in Silay on July 3.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Anthony Darroca, Silay police chief, was taken aback when he learned about the move of the Hofileña family, but said the local police respected their decision.

Adult, Female, Person
STOLEN. ‘Mango Harvesters’ (1936) by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo was stolen from the Hofileña Museum in Silay, Negros Occidental.

Darroca said the Silay police would still do their work to find the stolen Amorsolo painting and bring it back to the Hofileñas.

He said they were waiting for some members of the family to meet with the police for a case conference.

Police have identified two suspects, a man and a woman, and are building a theft case against them.

The art theft brought together local officials of Silay and Negros Occidental, law enforcement groups in Western Visayas, and the Bacolod art community with one goal: to find the stolen 1936 Amorsolo painting.

Colonel Rainerio de Chavez, director of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOCPPO), told Rappler on Monday, July 8, that Brigadier General Jack Wanky, police director in Western Visayas, gave specific instructions to expedite the painting’s recovery.

De Chavez said investigators from the Silay police identified one of the suspects based on CCTV footage from the museum. 

“He is a Cebuano-speaking individual temporarily residing in Bacolod,” said De Chavez.

The investigation revealed that the suspects posed as tourists on July 3 and stole the 12×18-inch Amorsolo painting while blending in with other visitors.

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson asked De Chavez to use all legal means necessary to arrest the suspects and recover the painting.

Silay Mayor Joedith Gallego also offered a P25,000 reward for the immediate arrest of the suspects.

Retired city tourism officer Ver Pacete said the Amorsolo stolen painting holds significant value for its late owner, Ramon Hofiĺeña, known as the “father of heritage conservation” in Silay City.

“Not all Silaynons or Negrenses have had the privilege of owning such an Amorsolo painting, making Silay fortunate to have had Ramon Hofiĺeña and his invaluable art collection,” Pacete said.

Pacete said the stolen painting is worth millions of pesos.

The Arts Association of Bacolod (AAB) has also issued a statement, appealing to the public for assistance in locating the precious Amorsolo painting. – Rappler.com

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