Philippine govt asserts claim on dictator's Monet painting

Featured Politics South East Asia - July 22nd, 2013

The Philippine government insisted it was the rightful owner of a valuable Monet painting at the center of a $10 million settlement between human rights abuse victims of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and a foreign art collector.

More than 9,000 people who sought compensation over human rights abuses under Marcos’ dictatorial regime reached a settlement with the unnamed buyer of the piece by Claude Monet, reports The Associated Press.

But the government said the painting, reportedly sold for $32 million by the secretary of then first lady Imelda Marcos, was state property.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government reiterated “the government’s sovereign claim on the ill-gotten wealth acquired by the Marcoses, including paintings bought with the Filipino people’s money,” PCGG chairman Andres Bautista said in a statement Saturday.

“If the buyer reached a settlement with the lawyers of the Marcos human rights victims to buy peace, then that is the buyer’s prerogative,” Bautista said.

The PCGG said the claims of rights abuse victims was “separate and distinct” from the Philippine state’s.

The government has been seeking to recover the Marcoses’ assets that were obtained through “funds plundered from the public coffers” which therefore “rightfully belong to the Filipino people as a whole.”

President Benigno Aquino III signed the Human Rights Reparation and Recognition Act into law, a landmark legislation which provides compensation worth 10 billion pesos ($230 million) for victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos dictatorship.