MANILA, Philippines – Lawyers with the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) requested on Tuesday, March 8, that the Special Division of the Sandiganbayan decide on the ownership of three collections of paintings and other art pieces the State is trying to get back from the Marcoses.
The PCGG-OSG argued in its 113-page Motion for Summary Judgment that the value of Marcos family's art collection surpassed the combined legal income of then-President Ferdinand Marcos and former First Lady Imelda Marcos. The value of the art collection at the time of acquisition was $24 million, a value disproportionate to the family's income from 1966 to 1986, which Supreme Court calculations pegged at $304,372.43. (READ: At 30: PCGG by the numbers)
Government lawyers had 3 lists with their motion. The first list identified 152 paintings carrying an estimated $11.84 million in value. The second list had 27 paintings and sculptures – reportedly found at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila – with an assessed value of $548,445.48.
Twelve paintings by Anna Mary Robertson – also known as the Grandma Moses collection – was also said to have been bought for $372,000.
The lawyers went on to say, “Without doubt, the subject paintings must be forfeited; in the same manner that the Supreme Court forfeited that funds and assets (of the Marcoses), for being patently disproportionate to the respondent spouses’ aggregate legitimate income." (READ: Recovering Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth: After 30 years, what?)
The government has previously used motions for summary judgment to win ill-gotten wealth cases against the Marcoses and their associates, including several sub-divisions of Civil Case No. 0033, which deals with the coconut levy cases. Motions for summary judgment petition the court to resolve pending disputes based on evidence already on record, which can include submissions of the parties in pleadings already filed.
While motions for summary judgment can do away with lengthy trials, the risk involved include the possibility that the court could declare the evidence at hand to be insufficient to support the government's claim.
The PCGG-OSG, however, cited previously relied-upon grounds it has used to win some earlier battles, including winning the forfeiture of $683 million in cash deposits from the Marcos family’s Swiss foundations, the $40 million in funds in the Arelma account, as well as 3 of Imelda Marcos' jewelry collections.
The PCGG-OSG cited the instant Petition for Forfeiture filed under Republic Act No 1379, which they said "had already established the scandalous acquisition of ill-gotten wealth by the Marcoses, their acquisition of lands, buildings, condominium units, mansions, business interests, jewelry, and other real or personal property.”
Back in September 29, 2014, the Sandiganbayan issued a writ of attachment. This authorized court officers to seize 15 paintings found at the old Marcos home in San Juan.
An additional 9 pieces of art were later found by Sandiganbayan sheriff Romulo Barrozo at Rep. Marcos’ office in the Batasan Complex. Court officers, however, were kept by Congress security from recovering the paintings. The PCGG-OSG asked the court in its motion for summary judgment to declare the paintings as “unlawfully acquired” so they could be forfeited in favor of the State.
The motion for summary judgment also sought for a court directive to be issued barring the marcoses from disposing of the artworks. This directive would also entail the surrender of all identified paintings, the listing of the paintings' location, and the authorization of of court officers and police to "seize and secure" those assets. – Rappler.com