146 Marcos paintings missing, says PCGG


A total of 146 paintings by Picasso, Van Gogh and other masters, which were allegedly bought with stolen funds by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, remain missing, the government said on Tuesday.

Marcos distributed his priceless collection of at least 300 artworks to cronies when his regime crumbled in 1986. Only about half have been recovered by Manila, said Andres Bautista, chair of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).

“The Marcoses were art aficionados and they spent millions of dollars buying these paintings,” Bautista said.

The 146 paintings by Picasso, Van Gogh and other masters like Renoir, Rembrandt and Cézanne “could be anywhere,” he added.

The PCGG was formed in 1986 to recover Marcos’ embezzled fortune believed to be worth up to $10 billion, after the bloodless Edsa People Power Revolution ended his 20-year rule and forced him into US exile. He died in Hawaii in 1989.

The PCGG drew up the list of missing paintings from art gallery receipts and shipment records left behind by the Marcos family, Bautista told Agence France-Presse.

Vilma Bautista, the former personal secretary to Marcos’ widow, Imelda, along with two nephews, was indicted in New York last week over an alleged conspiracy to sell a Monet that had belonged to the first lady.

The Monet, “Le Bassin aux Nymphéas,” and three other paintings seized by US authorities from Bautista were on the Philippines’ missing list, said Andres Bautista, who is not related to the accused.

Vilma Bautista and her nephews allegedly sold the Monet to an art gallery in London for $32 million, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Return of paintings

The PCGG’s Bautista said he had met the New York prosecutors to ask for the return of the four paintings to Manila.

“Now, whether we bring them back here to be exhibited, or we sell them there and remit the proceeds to the national treasury would be up to President Aquino,” he said.

The other artworks from the Marcos collection that had already been recovered by the Philippine government were either sold or displayed in local institutions or museums, according to the PCGG chair.

The New York Times last week reported that in late 1985, with the looming end of the Marcos regime, a large truck pulled up in front of the Upper East Side townhouse where Imelda stayed and threw parties while in New York City.

Crates were seen stacked on the sidewalk, and by the time the dictator was ousted in February 1986, and the new government of Corazon Aquino reclaimed the house, the majestic paintings that had hung on its walls, including one from the water lily series by Claude Monet, had disappeared, according to the Times.

The 74-year-old Vilma Bautista, who has homes in New York City and on Long Island, was named, along with Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and their New York lawyers, as defendants in a suit brought in the New York State Supreme Court in 1986 that sought to return the Marcoses’ holdings to the Philippine government.

Conspiracy charges

Last week, prosecutors accused Vilma Bautista of secretly keeping numerous works of art that had been acquired by the Marcoses for nearly a quarter of a century.

But beginning in 2009, Vilma Bautista and her nephews began efforts to sell some of the artwork discreetly, according to the indictment.

After the Monet water lily painting was sold to a London gallery in September 2010, Vilma Bautista kept most of the proceeds, but shared some with her nephews, Chaiyot Jansen Navalaksana, 37, and Pongsak Navalaksana, 40, as well as unnamed fellow conspirators in New York, according to the indictment.

Vilma Bautista was also accused of trying to sell three other valuable works: Monet’s “L’Église et La Seine à Vétheuil” (1881), Alfred Sisley’s “Langland Bay” (1887) and Albert Marquet’s “Le Cyprès de Djenan Sidi Said” (1946), also known as “Algerian View.”

Vilma Bautista and her nephews face conspiracy charges and tax fraud for failing to report income from the sale of the Monet. If convicted, Vilma Bautista would face up to 25 years in prison and her nephews up to four years. She pleaded not guilty and was released on a $175,000 bond.

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  • Anqui

    The Macoses may have owned priceless artworks, but could not enjoy viewing or showing off to anyone because they are hidden away. It is loss-loss situation to them and the nation.  If they are have a degree of patriotism, it would be very nice to bring them all home to the country…make an agreement with the Aquino Administration to built a National Gallery  for everyone to enjoy including their generations.

    • Joe

      then, put them behind bars where they belong.

    • amanda leigh

       they should not do that otherwise they admit their crime. until now they speak of innocence or not guilty of any  wrong doing.

  • BeMe_2

    hahaha… you can hide but you can’t run. crime really does not pay afterall.

  • LuwigVonMises

    paintings of picasso, von gogh and the likes are priceless. as time goes by it’s price will keep going up because nobody can make those kinds of paintings rather than the masters themselves.  so it would be a big mistake to be selling them.  they should up them in museums so it will create jobs for the people and also so that millions of filipino will appreciate its beauty in real life.

    • jeffrey_01

      Sell them and give the money to Marcos’ victims.

  • Touch_Me_Nuts

    More than anything else, the barrow of the current PH government, and those vehemently and reputedly anti-Marcos is more to shame and bury their once adversary in the dustbin of history than the commercial value that can be derived from such controversial artworks.  After all shame and to shame someone ranks at the top of Filipino values. Daily you could see how readers in this forum shame and insult each other endlessly when they can’t seem to agree.  Mostly even educated Filipinos won’t hesitate  insulting and disrespecting a fellow Filipino  to just prove a trivial point. This country’s president is no different in attitude.
    For in shaming the dead dictator and his family was a luxury they never had when the dictator was alive. Truth of the matter is, what they lost in politics then, they now constantly try to regain and compensate at every opportunity although the old dictator has been long dead and gone.  As always, when government runs out of new ideas in order to justify its regime looking for a cat’s paw becomes convenient as natural consequence.  I won’t be surprised if the stolen artworks will later be found on the nipping hands of those tasked to locate them.

    • jeffrey_01

      That’s the reason why it never got reported until after the US court reported it.

      PCGG is a sham, they never give anything to the Marcos victims.

  • D_BystandeR

    The priceless “works of art” acquired by the Marcoses by the hundreds using government funds valued in “millions of dollars” during the dark days of the dictatorial regime is appearing like “a curse” to those who received them clandestinely. It is reported that146 pieces of paintings remain missing according to Andres Bautista, Chair of PCGG (Philippine Commission on Good Government). In 1986 when the dictatorial regime crumbled, it was estimated that at least 300 artworks were passed on to cronies to avoid confiscation by the authorities of the incoming Cory administration. Vilma Bautista, a former personal secretary to Marcos widow, Imelda, believed to have received some “artworks” is now facing conspiracy charges and tax fraud for failure to report income from the sale of the Monet water lily painting that was sold to a London gallery for $32M in September 2010. Vilma, now 74, with homes in New York City and Long Island, pleaded not guilty and is out on bail of $175,000 bond. She was accused with her nephews, Chaiyot Navalaksana, 37, and Pongsak Navalaksana, 40, as unnamed fellow conspirators. If convicted Vilma is expected to serve 25 years in jail and her nephews, up to 4 years each. The Marcos treasures, some of them in the hands of his cronies, are like “time bombs” that will explode in their face any moment once these are detected being disposed of for monetary gains in some of the world’s leading art galleries where the items command a price which could mean a “fortune!” to them but in another “picture” it entitles them to a prison term.

    • BruinBearDad

      Very true.  I wonder however, why karma has taken so long to go around.  Even for the Marcoses, they are still above the law.  Karma on the afterlife?  I would have wished that I see them go through their punishment for the plunder.  All the hardship they have put the Filipinos through to this day. All of them who are hiding all the loot including the Marcoses still act surprised and indignant that the Marcoses are innocent and are being persecuted. 

      • eirons1043

        That’s why the Marcoses (Romualdez-Marcos) never planned to live abroad coz justice there is not for sale.  In the Philippines they not only were able to buy the entire Ilocos Norte and Tacloban but the entire Judiciary starting from the Supreme Court down to the last Judge. Are you not amaze that they keep on winning in the SC their big cases and miraculously lost their small cases.

      • Jezzrel

        Wala ka talagang ka ide idea kung sino talaga ang nagpahirap at nagpabagsak sa Pilipinas..

        Alam mo iyong tungkol sa BINONDO CENTRAL BANK? Kung bakit nagkaroon noong araw?

        Ang karma, minsan naman ay nangyayari iyan kahit buhay pa ang tao… kaya huwag mo na asahan afterlife….

  • usapan2

    to the PCGG, why don’t you explain to the public what happened to the Canaletto paintings and other paintings sold by PCGG at a bargain price of few millions, when it could have been worth billions of dollars, as revealed by Manong Max Soliven?  He wrote that he almost cried when he learned what happened to the paintings.

  • farmerpo

    Meldy was and is an art  connoisseur. She has a vision like no other of her ilk. CPP, kidney center, heart center, etc.. too bad she had a delusional disorder that she owned the Philippines.

  • joeybg

    Ang mga nagsimula ng Kahirapan sa Pinas….. Marcos ang mga Kawatan, ang mga pinakakain sa pamilya ay puro Nakaw……. ang kapal ng mga Mukha.

  • domingog

    How come Imelda Marcos was not charged  for something like malversation of public fund? San galing ang peramg ginamit para bilhin ang mg painting na ito?

  • kalikasanipagtanggol

    Sige iboto niyo pa mga marcoses, enriles, angaras at lahat ng mga trapos at dynasty families!

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