Solon seeks probe into missing Botong mural

A PARTY-list congressman has filed a resolution calling for an immediate congressional inquiry into the disappearance of the Botong Francisco mural from its rightful place in the Bulwagang Antonio J. Villegas of the Manila City Hall.

A masterpiece of National Artist Carlos ‘Botong’ Francisco, the priceless “obra maestro” entitled Filipino Struggles through History, was commissioned by then Mayor Villegas in 1968.

It depicts the history of Manila and its important role in our nation’s history and development. This has always been a source of pride and inspiration for every Manileño and everyone who visited City Hall then.

“This is exactly the purpose of Mayor Villegas who appropriated public funds and commissioned the painting. No one has the right to loan or lend it to anybody. It must be returned to its original place in the Bulwagan in deference to the mayor who, in his patriotic and cultural vision, had it made. Nararapat lang na ibalik ito sa dating kinalalagyan at sa tunay na nagmamay-ari nito – ang Lungsod at mamamayan ng Maynila,” Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza said.

The painting disappeared from the Bulwagan 12 years ago and until now has not been returned.

“That painting belongs to Manila and should be re-installed in City Hall. We will push for this Congressional Inquiry to pinpoint responsibility for this injustice to the people of Manila. And if necessary, charges should be filed against those who have been remiss in their duty to safeguard the interest of Manilans. This priceless artwork may now be worth billions of pesos,” Atienza stressed.