Missing Picasso Spotted on Imelda Marcos' Wall

Anti-corruption officials attempted to seize it in the past
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2022 3:00 PM CDT
Picasso Piece May Signal Return of Marcos Traditions
Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos flashes the peace sign as she attends a mass with son and vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. at the Redemptorist Church in suburban Paranaque, south of Manila, Philippines Sunday, May 15, 2016.   (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

It’s doubtful anyone was surprised, but the appearance of a long-missing Picasso painting in footage from a recent Marcos family gathering certainly raised some eyebrows, particularly those of Ruben Carranza, who served on the Presidential Commission on Good Government, according to the Guardian. The PCGG was established in 1986 to recover the Marcos family’s $10 billion in ill-gotten gains. The painting, "Reclining Woman VI," was seen in images from president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s visit to the home of his mother, former first lady Imelda Marcos.

Carranza notes that the painting may not even be authentic. "Mrs. Marcos has had a habit of buying fake paintings, as well as lending fake paintings for display," Carranza told the Guardian. He said it's a familiar display of Mrs. Marcos's duplicity, extravagance, and "this really, absolutely uncaring attitude for Filipinos." According to Forbes, the same painting was one of eight targeted for seizure by the Philippines government in 2014; however, the one authorities snagged back then turned out to be a replica. In a tweet, Andres Bautista—another former anti-corruption official—urged the government to take action, but few hold out hope that anything will happen.

Over the years, PCGG had some success in clawing back the Marcos wealth, but more than half remains tied up in courts or simply missing. Marcos, Jr., is now president-elect, following a landslide victory. That means he will control the PCGG and the quest for his own family’s stash. As the Guardian notes, that stash is said to include "huge sums of gold," supposedly gifted to the late Ferdinand, Sr., by a thankful family. The Marcos family has said they will share that gold with the Filipino people once they regained power. The Inquirer reports that a spokesman for Marcos Jr. dodged the question Friday when he was asked if the painting on the former first lady's wall was geniune. (More Imelda Marcos stories.)

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