MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed a Sandiganbayan ruling junking government's motion to admit supplemental offer of evidence in a civil suit it filed against the late President Ferdinand Marcos, Imelda Marcos, now Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, and several others in connection with alleged ill-gotten wealth.
In a two-page Resolution dated March 13, 2012, the high court, still voting 7-7, denied government's motion for reconsideration (MR) citing "rehashed arguments."
"After considering the arguments raised in the motion for reconsideration [of the December 13, 2011 Decision] filed by the Republic of the Philippines (petitioner), the Court resolves to deny the same for lack of merit," the Resolution read.
The Resolution reiterated as stated in the December 13 Decision, "as early as December 6, 2011 the en banc already deliberated on the case and failed to arrive at a conclusive decision because of a tie vote, which resulted in the re-voting on December 13, 2011 with same results."
"Since the Court remained equally divided after the re-voting, the December 13, 2011 Decision of the Court prevails," the Resolution further stated.
The high court also junked government's request for Chief Justice Renato Corona to voluntarily inhibit from participating in the case in view his ongoing impeachment trial.
"The Court also resolves to deny the petitioner's additional prayer that the Chief Justice voluntarily recuse himself from participating in the case. The Chief Justice had already weighed the merits of the case and voted on the main decision even before he was hastily
impeached on December 12, 2011," the Resolution read.
Voting 7-7 last December, with one Justice taking no part, the high court en banc affirmed the Sandiganbayan's ruling on the case on Feb. 7, 2002, and dismissed the petition filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) for "lack of merit."
According to the rules, when the votes are tied, the petition is junked.
On July 22, 1987, the PCGG filed a complaint against the Marcos couple, their son Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose L. Africa, Manuel H. Nieto, Jr., and Potenciano Ilusorio for reconveyance, reversion, accounting, restitution, and damages before the Sandiganbayan.
The government alleged that the respondents illegally manipulated the purchase of the major shareholdings of Cable and Wireless Limited in Eastern Telecommunications Philippines, Inc. (ETPI), which shareholdings respondents Africa and Nieto, Jr. held for themselves and, through their holdings and the corporations, benefited respondents Ferdinand and Imelda.
Those who voted to junk the petition were Corona, Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Jose Perez, and Jose Mendoza.
Those who maintained their dissents were Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Presbitero Velasco Jr., Roberto Abad, Martin Villarama Jr., Maria Lourdes Aranal-Sereno, Bienvenido Reyes, and Estela Perlas-Bernabe while Teresita Leonardo-De Castro maintained her inhibition since the case originated from the Sandiganbayan which she was a former member.