Marcos camp skirts query on ‘missing’ Picasso art; turns tables on ex-PCGG chief
MANILA, Philippines — Instead of directly answering the issue on the Picasso painting, the camp of presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. digressed and instead took a swipe at former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chairman Andres Bautista, telling him to come home and make his allegations in person.
The controversial Pablo Picasso art titled Reclining Woman VI was a subject of a seizure order in 2014. But government agents were not able to find its original version during a raid at the house of former first lady Imelda Marcos, Bongbong’s mother, and eventually tagged the piece as “missing” because what operatives confiscated was later found to be a mere replica.
The other day, a photo released by Marcos Jr.’s sister, Senator Imee Marcos, showing her brother and nephew, Sandro, visiting Imelda made the rounds on social media. Here, keen eyes – including that of Bautista’s – spotted the supposedly missing painting hanging on the wall of the Marcos matriarch’s house.
— Andy Bautista (@ChairAndyBau) May 11, 2022
During a press briefing, Marcos Jr.’s spokesman Atty. Vic Rodriguez was asked if the Picasso painting recently spotted on the wall of the former first lady’s house is an original version or just an imitation. Rodriguez dodged the query and instead hit Bautista for the conduct of the 2016 elections – when the former PCGG head was the chairman of the Comelec.
“It’s very easy to be agitating people, making allegations, making accusations, when you are thousands of miles away from your motherland. I invite you Chairman Andy Bautista, to come home if you’re confident enough and make your allegations here in person so that to be fair to the Filipino people, we can also hold you accountable for the many misdeeds and allegations as to the conduct of the 2016 elections,” Rodriguez said,
Bautista supposedly left the Philippines in 2017 when he was being summoned to face a Senate inquiry into his unexplained wealth.
“We will not follow the narrative and the cold allegation of somebody who is thousands of miles away from his motherland. Umuwi kayo rito, dito ninyo gawin iyong alegasyon, nang sa ganun mapanagot din namin kayo doon sa napakaraming bintang at alegasyon tungkol sa kung paano ninyo pinatakbo ‘yung 2016 elections,” Rodriguez also said.
(Go back to the Philippines and make your allegations so that we can also hold you accountable for the many issues and allegations pertaining to the conduct of the 2016 elections.)
When Marcos Jr. lost the vice presidential race in the 2016 polls, his camp contested the election results, claiming there were irregularities and discrepancies in the data provided by the Comelec’s transparency server then.
Marcos Jr. had alleged electoral fraud in the 2016 elections, but the Supreme Court had unanimously junked the case – 15-0 – for lack of merit. This was after Vice President Leni Robredo’s lead grew even bigger after a manual recount of votes in three provinces handpicked by Marcos Jr.
The PCGG under Bautista raided the houses and offices of the Marcoses after the Sandiganbayan (Civil Case No. 0141) forfeited in favor of the government pieces of jewelry and paintings declared as stolen wealth of the Marcos family.
Of all the raids, only the one conducted at the Marcoses’ house in San Juan City on September 30, 2014, was successful.
In the return of the writ, 15 paintings were listed to have been seized in San Juan, including the “Picasso Replica Brass Strokes (Reclining Women VI/Femme Couchee VI by Pablo Picasso).”
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