Latest Stories

Marcos rights victims to get additional $1K


STOLEN, SOLD Claude Monet’s “L’ Eglise de Vetheuil,” shown here in a photo supplied by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York, was sold for $32 million by former Imelda Marcos’ social secretary, Vilma Bautista. The buyer said he bought the stolen artwork “in good faith” and has agreed to a $10-million settlement with the counsel of martial law victims. Photo taken from PCGG website, pccg.gov.ph

Some 7,000 victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos regime may get another $1,000 in compensation from the $10-million settlement agreed on between lawyers of the class suit against the Marcoses and the buyer of a valuable Monet painting believed to be part of the ill-gotten Marcos art collection.

Robert Swift, the lead counsel in the class suit, entered into the $10-million settlement with the unidentified buyer of the painting who asked that he not be dragged into the highly publicized New York trial of Vilma Bautista, the former social secretary and confidante of former first lady Imelda Marcos.

Bautista was arrested last year for trying to sell several artworks by Impressionist masters considered stolen by the Philippine government.

In 2010, Bautista and her two nephews sold for $32 million a Claude Monet painting whose buyer, according to class suit co-counsel Rod Domingo Jr., purchased the artwork “in good faith.”   The buyer agreed to pay the $10-million settlement two or three weeks ago as long as he was not dragged into the case, the lawyer added.

“This is an agreement between the buyer and the class (suit) counsel (Swift). But it is under seal so that (the buyer) won’t be involved anymore. We are still suing the other responsible persons,” Domingo said.

If the rights victims approve of the settlement and upon approval by Judge Manuel Real of the US District Court of Hawaii, the class suit members can each expect to get the peso equivalent of $1,000 by December or by early next year, Domingo added.

Impressionist masters

Bautista, now 74, was arrested on Nov. 20 last year while trying to sell three artworks by the Impressionist masters, namely Claude Monet’s “L’Église et La Seine à Vétheuil” (1881); Alfred Sisley’s “Langland Bay” (1887); and Albert Marquet’s “Le Cyprès de Djenan Sidi Said” (1946) also known as “Algerian View.”

Authorities had been on to Bautista and her two nephews since they sold Monet’s well-known “Le Bassin aux Nymphéas” (1899) in 2010 for $32 million. This was the painting involved in the $10-million settlement, Domingo said.

He added that the $10 million had been deposited in a special settlement fund account under Judge Real who, in 1995, handed out a $2-billion award in favor of the 9,539 victims of human rights abuses during the martial law years.

Domingo said the 7,500 remaining class suit members in their list will be notified of the negotiated settlement in the next couple of weeks.

They are still going after the paintings and other sizable assets confiscated from Bautista, he added.

Art theft trial begins Oct. 7

In 2011, the class suit members received P43,200 each (the equivalent of $1,000) under a $10-million initial settlement of the $2-billion judgment.

Bautista’s trial for art theft and tax fraud is set to start on Oct. 7 in New York.  Her two nephews were also charged but they remain at large.

Bautista and her nephews Chaiyot Jansen Navalaksana, 37, and Pongsak Navalaksana, 40, are charged with illegally conspiring to possess and sell valuable paintings that they did not own, keeping the proceeds for themselves and hiding them from tax authorities.

The class suit lawyers immediately filed a suit in New York to recover the paintings and the proceeds in the Vilma Bautista case.The Philippine government through the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), has reported the Impressionist paintings as lost and stolen.

The PCGG, which was tasked to recover ill-gotten Marcos wealth anywhere in the world, had been asked to testify.

Part of Marcos loot

But PCGG chair Andres Bautista said the paintings should be returned to the Filipino people since they are part of the Marcos loot.

He said the New York District Attorney’s Office supported the Philippine government’s assertion that the other assets seized from Mrs. Marcos’ former aide, namely some $15 million in a bank account in New York, an apartment in New York worth $3 million to $4 million and a life-insurance policy worth $1 million to $2 million, are also part of the Marcos loot.

The PCGG has insisted that all recovered ill-gotten wealth of martial law President Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies should be returned to the national coffers.

Compensation act

The PCGG chair has said that the $2-billion award allowed by Judge Real should be enforced against the Marcos family and not against recovered ill-gotten Marcos assets.

Last February during the anniversary of the 1986 People Power revolt, President Aquino signed the P8-billion compensation act for victims of summary execution, torture and other rights abuses during martial law.

Malacañang has yet to appoint the members of the compensation board.

“It is poetic justice that the victims are benefiting from a valuable painting that Imelda Marcos purchased and revered,” Swift said in a statement.

“This New York litigation may be the vehicle to discover the totality of the Marcos artwork trove and to recover still more money for the victims,” he added.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Claude Monet , Ferdinand Marcos , ill-gotten Marcos assets , Imelda Marcos , Impressionist masters , Judge Manuel Real , Marcos , Marcos artwork , Marcos dictatorship , Marcos loot , Martial Law Victims , Rod Domingo Jr. , Vilma Bautista , “L’Eglise de Vetheuil”

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Duke freshman declares for NBA draft
  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace