THE country’s anti-graft court has ordered the family of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos to surrender to the Philippine government 146 paintings worth $24.3 million, including works by Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh.

The paintings had been illegally acquired and should be returned, the Sandiganbayan said in a 42-page decision.

It ordered the Marcoses to stop selling or transferring the stolen paintings still in their possession and divulge their location. The family should surrender to the state the proceeds of any paintings that had been sold, the court said.

The anti-graft court has junked at least five government lawsuits seeking to recover billions of pesos of alleged stolen assets from the Marcos family and their cronies in the past four months.

In August, the Sandiganbayan rejected a P102-billion ill-gotten wealth case against Mr. Marcos, his wife and their cronies including Roberto Benedicto.

In September, the court also affirmed the dismissal of a civil case against the heirs of Luis Yulo, a known Marcos associate.

A month later, the court rejected a P1.05-billion lawsuit against Bienvenido Tantoco, Sr. and the Marcos couple involving 11 properties in the Philippines, Hawaii and Rome, shares of stocks in 19 companies, various cash, jewelry and other possessions.

Also in October, the Sandiganbayan junked a P267-million ill-gotten wealth case against the late dictator, his wife and several of their associates for insufficient evidence.

This month, the Sandiganbayan rejected a government attempt to recover P200 billion of alleged ill-gotten assets of the Marcoses for insufficient evidence. — Genshen L. Espedido