HEADS WILL ROLL. All these exquisite antique santo heads from the Philippines were auctioned off on ebay, by the controversial antique dealer, Rory Bacus. The fate of unsold santos remain unknown.
One of the most controversial dealers of Philippine religious antiquities was the late Rory Bacus of Cebu, who listed his business as an exporter-importer of woodcarvings. In the early 2000s, Rory Bacus, under the name "robacus", posted regularly on the international auction site, ebay, many religious artifacts, examples of which are shown here on this page.
Bacus has been associated with the loss of many old religious images from Cebu parishes, which includes figures of Virgen Dolorosa, Baby Jesus of Mount Carmel, San Jose, Nazareno and Sta. Monica, from the Santa Monica Parish in Dalaguete, Cebu.
These, along with 158 icons, including 58 crucifixes and other sacred artifacts, were recovered in a raid conducted in the house of Bacus in late April 2003. Bacus had also been allegedly involved in the disappearances of many images from different churches in and outside Cebu.
In October 2003, the Archdiocese of Cebu charged the noted antique dealer of fencing various religious artifacts. Included in the complaint at the City Prosecutors Office was an affidavit of Rosa Navarro, the treasurer of the Badian pastoral council who testified that she was able to recognize a cherubim icon, among the icons seized by the police from Bacus house in a previous May 2003 raid.
On April 25, 2003, prior to the serving of the search warrant, the police were also able to retrieve ten antique religious icons at a house in Guizo, Mandaue City, reportedly owned by Bacus.
Agapito Torrentira, councilor of Inabanga town in Bohol, and barangay captain Emiliano Divino, of the same place, came to Cebu and identified two of the icons recovered as among those stolen from barangay Cambitoon chapel, of the town.
A second police raid conducted later yielded the images of San Isidro Labrador, San Agustin, and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, verified by the 2 Bohol officials as items stolen from their place.Carcar residents, Josefina Roldan, Angeliza Tanodtanod, and Silvina Francisco had also stated that they had identified another icon from Bacus, as the one stolen from a chapel in barangay Perrelos of the town.
However, Bacus' lawyer had earlier questioned the search that the police had conducted, arguing that they used a general warrant, which was not specific as to what objects will be searched.
The lawyer also contended that the police were not able to establish that icons seized were indeed stolen, as alleged. She said those icons could not be declared as illegally possessed if there is no evidence to show these were stolen somewhere. (TO BE CONTINUED)
All pictures were grabbed and saved from actual postings on ebay between 2000-2003.