The mayor of Santiago, Martiño Noriega, of Compostela Aberta and doctor of profession, did not dare to offer an accurate diagnosis after the hearing where was elucidated who they belong the two statues of the Pórtico de la Gloria that have been in the hands of the Franco family for more than 60 years. "I will believe in justice when it does justice," he said. And it is that Juan José Aizcorbe, lawyer of the family of the dictator, based his defense on two pillars: the City Council will have to show that the Franco did not legally buy the two Romanesque jewels to a private individual through an antique dealer and, in the case of having made an irregular acquisition, this would have been prescribed in 1981. The response of the municipal lawyer, Xaquin Monteagudo, was blunt and outraged: "It is an abuse of such caliber that the rule of law can not allow it."
Proven facts that the magistrate of the Court of Instruction 41 of Madrid will have to assess. The Portico de la Gloria of the Cathedral of Santiago showed up to the 16th century a different aspect from the current one. It was of greater proportions and had an anteroom (peristyle or exonártex) presided by a large central arch and two side doors and decorated by seven or eight sculptures of prophets and kings. In 1521, this superb structure of the teacher Mateo was dismantled and his figures distributed in different places.
In the eighteenth century, two of those masterpieces (Abraham and Isaac, although there are doubts about who they actually represent) ended up in the hands of the Count of Ximonde, who kept them in a pazo of his property. Finally, in the middle of the 20th century they ended up in the summer residence of the dictator (the pazo de Meirás) and now they are the property of their descendants. They do not want to return them to the City Council. They claim that they are theirs.
The Consistory (with probatory documents) shows a notarial deed of June 1948 that confirms that they were acquired by the council to a descendant of the count of Ximonde. The purchase would be made through two payments of 30,000 pesetas. In case that the works left Santiago, says the contract signed by both parties, the noble had to be compensated with another 600,000 pesetas. And, thanks to this agreement, they remained in the consistorial house until 1954 or 1961, period after which they disappeared to end up in the hands of the Franco.
The Franco replied in the trial that the sculptures were acquired from a private individual and, if that were not the case, the alleged abduction would be prescribed in the eighties of the last century, when the 25th anniversary of the events was fulfilled. When the autocrat's lawyer made these statements at the trial, the attendees showed their irritation and the magistrate had to call their attention: she threatened to throw them out of the room.
Doubts expressed in the trial by the lawyers of both parties: "Where is the document of sale of the Franco with the particular case?" Answer: does not exist. "If the City does not have all the file of the alleged municipal acquisition of the statues, a family does not have to have kept that paper, "replied Aizcorbe, who also countered by claiming the City Council's receipt of the second payment of 30,000 pesetas to the count, as well as that of 600,000 for having taken them out of Santiago. But these documents do not exist either. "How strange," said the lawyer, "that the noble did not claim the money owed to him." That is to say, he maintained, the operation was never carried out. "But who was going to do something like that in the Franco regime! Nobody could react. You could not talk about this question ", complained Monteagudo.
And more questions from the lawyer of the Franco: "Where is the file of the transfer of the sculptures from the City Hall to the Franco house?". Answer: It has not been found.
"They were taken away, they were taken away," said Ramón Izquierdo, an expert witness who has been studying the case since the 1980s. "It's all: the reference in the Bulletin of the Academy of the Galician Language of 1933, the two sales commissions of 1947, his arrival at the City Council of Santiago in 1948, the office of the mayor of February 16 of that year, the notarial document … There is no document of sale to the Franco because, simply, never it existed In the Exposition of Romanesque Art of 1961, the head of the State already appears as the property of his Excellency. Pazo de Meirás'. They were at City Hall. It is clear. They took them … ", he was outraged.
"Is there a photo that shows that the sculptures were in the Consistory?", Asked the defense of the descendants of the dictator. The mayor of Santiago recognizes that no. "Maybe they made them disappear. But there they were, "he said.
Then the defense of the Franco continued talking about "burden of proof", "hypothetical assumptions", "peaceful and public possession in Meirás", "detailed records where there is no data of the arrival to the City" and a disquisition on when would have prescribed the alleged crime: between six years, if the statues were considered movable, or 25, if patrimonial. "Therefore, we request to dismiss the claim," concluded the lawyer of the family. "It's a good demand," the municipal attorney responded indignantly, "you can not sell it," he added, since you can not sell a street or a square. "It was not demanial, it was movable," the Franco said. He took advantage of it because he was the head of the State and then his heirs, "said the City Council.
The judge decides.