By Conrado de Quiros
My first thought was that we had a pale replica of Janet Napoles in the United States in the person of Vilma Bautista, former personal secretary of Imelda Marcos. Bautista is the person who sold a Monet painting in London for $43 million, $7.5 million of which went to the gallery and more than $30 million of which went to her. Of her money, the 77-year-old Bautista gave $5.1 million to her nephews and P4.5 million to associates, and plunked down $2.2 million on an apartment in Manhattan.
By Juan L. Mercado
“THEY DIDN’T only hoard shoes,” Daily Telegraph culture editor Martin Chilton wrote. “Former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and wife Imelda amassed an art collection, paid for with stolen funds.” Today, 146 masterpieces—including works by Van Gogh, Renoir, Rembrandt, Cezanne, Magritte and Brueghel the Younger—are missing.
Twenty-six years after Edsa I, the fabled treasure hoard of the late Ferdinand Marcos continues to dazzle and intrigue. During his 20 years in power, the strongman and his wife Imelda, as well as a number of their cronies, were believed to have moved billions of dollars of public funds to bank accounts and investments in Switzerland, the United States and other countries. So much wealth was taken from the country that no precise amount of the loot has been given to this day. And very little has been recovered so far.