A missing art piece makes a cameo in the Marcoses’ home.
Last Wednesday, the internet exploded shortly after Bongbong Marcos visited his mother Imelda. A TV Patrol report on the visit gave netizens a glimpse of “the missing Picasso.”
When the Marcoses were still in power, Picasso’s Reclining Woman VI disappeared with a few other pieces. The Presidential Commission on Good Governance tried to reclaim them in 2014, to no avail.
A sordid history of theft
Imelda Marcos loved luxury. She loved the fame, money, and power that came with her husband’s presidency. She and Ferdinand Sr. had what we now call a conjugal dictatorship. The rest of their family benefited from it as well.
Even before 1986, the Marcoses were already accused of theft. They siphoned government funds into their private bank accounts. Imelda and her husband used this money to buy themselves everything they wanted and more.
Imelda had all the jewelry and shoes she could ever want. She also spent a lot on paintings. One such painting was the Reclining Woman VI.
It first appeared in The Kingmaker, an independent film by Lauren Greenfield. While Imelda was being interviewed, Picasso’s piece was sitting in the background. A few other valuable artworks were also hung beside it.
Yet, when the PCGG attempted to seize these artworks, the Missing Picasso was not found. They also failed to recover a few other pieces from Degas, Monet, Matisse, and others that were on their list. That was after The Kingmaker premiered in the Philippines.
After their first attempt in 2014, the PCGG tried a few more times to reclaim money and assets from the Marcoses. Vilma Bautista, Mrs. Marcos’ former secretary, even served jail time. She sold a Monet for $32 million. But there are still a few billion pesos worth of assets that might be in the possession of the Marcoses.
The missing Picasso is back!
At this point, no one knows if the Picasso in question is authentic. What matters is that it’s there.
The buzz started on Twitter. A netizen tweeted a screenshot of the scene to former PCGG chair Andres Bautista. He said it was also in The Kingmaker, which prompted Lauren Greenfield to reply. “Picasso is back!” she said.
The appearance of the piece has stirred the pot. Citizens are hounding art critics to verify its authenticity. Meanwhile, Andy Bautista is pleading with the PCGG to seize it while they still have a chance. A few days have passed since the visit, and Imelda could’ve hidden the Picasso already.
If the missing Picasso is reclaimed by the government, it would be worth billions. The funds could go back into government coffers and be used on a rainy day.
Featured Image Macky Arquilla