Gov’t lawyers press for forfeiture of Imelda Marcos’ paintings
State prosecutors urged the Sandiganbayan to render a partial judgement on the civil forfeiture case involving the prized paintings of former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos believed to be part of the family’s ill-gotten wealth.
The Office of the Solicitor General and the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) filed a reply to the court reiterating its earlier motion for partial judgement filed in March after Marcos, the primary respondent in the case, has not yet filed her comment to the motion.
Marcos, the wife of the late former president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos who was ousted in a people’s uprising in 1986, asked for additional time to comment.
In a motion dated April 14, Marcos asked for an additional 30 days until May 14 to file her comment. In another motion dated May 13, she again asked for additional time until May 29 to file her comment opposition.
Until now, Marcos has not filed her comment opposition, the prosecutors said, urging the court to deem Marcos’ right to comment waived.
The prosecutors also said with Marcos’ right to comment deemed to be waived, it should also be deemed that Marcos has admitted the facts against her.
“(D)espite the serious and specific allegations against her, respondent Imelda Marcos refuses to respond. She should have specifically denied the allegations if they were not true,” the prosecution said.
“Indeed, her silence only resonates her unqualified admission,” it added.
The prosecution added that Marcos had not denied her acquisition, ownership and possession of the paintings.
Marcos’ camp had also attempted to challenge the prosecution’s motion through legal grounds, like the technicality that the prosecution was barred from recovering the paintings because these were not included in their pre-trial brief.
The prosecution said these issues had already been rejected by the court.
The forfeiture of at least 200 prized paintings is part of the Civil Case 0141 the government filed against the Marcos estate to seize these artworks estimated to be worth $300 million to $500 million (P14 billion to P23.5 billion).
The civil case had been filed way back December 1991.
These paintings were said to be works of world-renowned artists Michelangelo, Monet, Picasso, Rembrandt and Van Gogh.
The PCGG in filing the case said the Marcoses could not have purchased the artworks at their declared wealth, and were actually purchased during martial rule when the country was reeling from poverty.
The PCGG has listed these paintings in its www.missingart.ph website.
Earlier, the Sandiganbayan on Sept. 2014 ordered to confiscate Imelda’s paintings believed to be part of the family’s ill-gotten wealth, among them three similar “Madonna and Child” paintings by Michelangelo; “Femme Au Chapeau,” “Paysage,” “Jeune Femme En Rouge,” “Coupe De Fleurs,” five “Vase De Fleurs,” “Panier De Fleurs” and “Jeune Femme Shabilant” by Paule Gobillard; and a Picasso replica brass strokes.
These prized artworks have since been transferred to the authorized custodian National Museum for safekeeping.
Imelda also faces 10 counts of graft before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly having pecuniary interests in various foundations set up by her and her husband to accumulate ill-gotten wealth. IDL
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