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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid