Freeman Cebu News ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: , sectionmatch: 1

P40M Luna Painting purchase: Winston glad COA gave okay

CEBU, Philippines - Winston Garcia said he felt vindicated by the Commission on Audit’s decision to reconsider its disallowance of the purchase of the Juan Luna painting that was bought for around P40 million at an auction in Hong Kong during his time as president and general manager of the Government Service Insurance System.

The issue on the “Parisian Life” painting was raised again recently with Garcia’s announcement that he will run for governor in the 2016 elections.

In an interview over dyHP-RMN Cebu yesterday morning, Garcia revealed that the government auditors reconsidered the disallowance on the purchase of the artwork because the painting is now valued at P300 million in the market, overshadowing the belief that the Philippine government was disadvantaged by the purchase in 2002.

At the height of the controversy, Garcia had even offered to pay back the GSIS with his personal money and just keep the painting for himself, saying he knew he made the right decision in fighting to keep the country’s heritage during the international auction, but COA had reportedly refused.

“Og nisugot pa sila nga bayaran nako, dako unta ko’g ganansiya ron,” said Garcia.

In 2012, COA upheld the GSIS’ purchase of Luna paintings saying it is valid because it preserves part of Philippine patrimony.

Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

“It is very clear that the State has the responsibility to conserve, promote, and popularize the nation’s historical and cultural heritage and resources, as well as artistic creations, and that works of art such as paintings are considered, as in the instant case, historical and cultural heritage of the Filipino people,” COA explained in a se-ven-page resolution signed by Chairwoman Ma. Gracia Pulido Tan, and commissioners Juanito Espino Jr. and Heidi Mendoza.

Explaining its reversal, COA said the National Museum even certified that Luna’s “Parisian Life” is the state’s historical and cultural property that a government agency should conserve.

The GSIS’ investment to preserve history and heritage by returning to the country the work of a prestigious Filipino artist drew criticism years ago after the amount paid was earlier considered excessive by COA and some critics.

Garcia who steered the GSIS into growing its funds from P100 billion to over P550 billion had also pointed out that other countries are even willing to spend billions to preserve historic items.

The Juan Luna painting has been on display at the GSIS Museum of Arts along with other works by Filipino artists such as Fernando Amorsolo, also bought from the Hong Kong auction. — /BRP (FREEMAN)

Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:
  • Follow Us: