Artist vs Central Bank
visual artist Romeo Mananquil, who migrated to
Canada two decades ago, has an ax to grind with
the central bank, for which he designed
(together with two other Filipino artists) a
series of banknotes and coins during the 1980s.
Our sources say Mananquil (who is identified
with the flora and fauna coin series) was upset
after recently finding out that his design for
the now-demonetized P5 note—the green one that
depicts Emilio Aguinaldo hoisting the Philippine
flag in Kawit, Cavite—was used by the central
bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, or BSP, for
the P100,000 centennial notes printed in
1999—allegedly without his consent and with some
Only 1,000 of these notes were issued in 1998 to
commemorate the Centennial of Independence from
more than 300 years of Spanish colonial rule.
The notes were intended for collectors. The
initial offering price was 180,000 Piso ($4175),
substantially higher than the face value.
The 100,000 Piso note, measuring 356mm x 216mm
(about the size of a legal page), is accredited
by the Guinness World Records as the world’s
largest legal tender note in terms of size.
Mananquil has sent his lawyers to assert his
legal rights over the artwork, lamenting its
Its lawyers argue that the central bank is
considered as a co-owner of the artwork and
therefore has the right to use it with or
without the artist’s permission.
The artist’s lawyers recently wrote the Monetary
Board, the policymaking body of the BSP, to
appeal his case. Will this debate over
intellectual property rights erupt into a