News / Asia

Philippines Seeks Return of Marcos Paintings

Vilma Bautista (C), the ex-secretary of former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos, smiles after her sentencing at the Manhattan Supreme Court in New York, Jan. 13, 2014.
Vilma Bautista (C), the ex-secretary of former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos, smiles after her sentencing at the Manhattan Supreme Court in New York, Jan. 13, 2014.
Reuters
The Philippines aims to recover three paintings, including one by French Impressionist Claude Monet, that a former aide of Imelda Marcos has been jailed in the United States for trying to sell.
 
Vilma Bautista, 75, a one-time secretary to the powerful wife of former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was on Monday sentenced to six years in a New York prison for a scheme to sell art that once belonged to the former first lady.
 
Among the pieces that Bautista managed to sell was “Le Bassin aux Nympheas” by Monet, from his famed water-lily series, that netted $32 million.
 
That one can't be recovered but the Philippines is determined to get back three unsold paintings that Bautista had in her possession: another Monet, “L'Eglise et La Seine a Vetheuil,” Alfred Sisley's “Langland Bay” and Albert Marquet's “Le Cypres de Djenan Sidi Said”.
 
“We want the three paintings back,” Andres Bautista chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, told reporters in Manila.
 
“We will recover them. They were acquired with state funds so they belong to the Filipino people,” he said.
 
Andres Bautista is not related to Vilma Bautista.
 
Andres Bautista said the government would file a civil case in New York to recover the paintings. He did not give an estimate of their value.
 
Bautista headed an agency tasked in 1986 with recovering about $10 billion of ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and their cronies. He said about 150 works of art were being sought.
 
“This will take time, it may take a lifetime,” he said.
 
Vilma Bautista was convicted in November of conspiracy and tax fraud charges related to the sale or attempted sale of four museum-quality paintings acquired by Marcos during the two decades that her husband was president of the Philippines.
 
The art disappeared around 1986, when Marcos was ousted in a popular uprising. He died three years later in Hawaii.
 
Bautista sold Monet's “Le Bassin aux Nympheas” for $32 million to a London gallery.
 
Imelda Marcos, 84, has been charged with civil and criminal crimes, but never been jailed despite evidence of massive wealth accumulated during her husband's 1965-1986 rule, most famously in the form of her huge collection of designer shoes.
 
She is a congresswoman and has denied that her family's wealth was ill-gotten.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs