Archdiocese of Cebu firm in ownership claim over religious panels

MANILA. The National Museum of the Philippines received this series of early 19th century panels depicting the founder of the Augustinian Order from private collectors Edwin and Aileen Bautista.
MANILA. The National Museum of the Philippines received this series of early 19th century panels depicting the founder of the Augustinian Order from private collectors Edwin and Aileen Bautista.Photo from NMP

THE Archdiocese of Cebu would not back off in its claim of ownership of the four religious panels of Nuestra Señora de Patrocinio de Maria Santisima Parish Church in Boljoon town, southern Cebu, which are currently in the hands of the National Museum of the Philippines.

Palma said he informed Andoni Aboitiz that Cebu seeks to claim ownership rights over the four known panels.

Palma said that by claiming the right to ownership, the panels should be returned to Boljoon.

He added that the panels belong to Boljoon and are church property, expressing expectations for their imminent return.

Palma emphasized that it is the church's responsibility to reclaim all properties rightfully belonging to it.

“We will do every step and every move and use our rights to recover. I think we have the law on our side,” he said.

In an interview on Saturday, April 27, Rev. Father Brian Brigoli, chairman of the Cebu Archdiocesan Committee for Cultural Heritage of the Church, said after the meeting between the National Musem and the Archdiocese last April 16, the former expressed no promises offered to the latter, but only about the conservation of the panels.

“It would be taken care of (by) the conservation division of the national museum,” Brigoli said.

Brigoli said the Archdiocese, through the Archbishop, remained firm in its “unwavering” stand and claim for ownership that they are not backing off.

He said they would know further about the status of the panels after the meeting on May 8, 2024.

Brigoli added that the Archdiocese still hoped that the four panels would be returned to their rightful owner.

He said the four panels are not just art pieces, but religious items that have their context and meaning that without which would lose their meaning. (AML)

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