The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) has informed the Sandiganbayan that it is preparing to terminate its presentation of evidence in a P51-billion lawsuit against businessman Lucio Tan.
The announcement was made through a single-page letter dated April 28 which was signed by PCGG Legal Department division chief Ma. Luisa M. Narvadez and filed Thursday at the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division.
"The Office of the Solicitor General will be filing its Formal Offer of Evidence in Civil Case No. 0005, entitled Republic of the Philippines vs. Lucio Tan et al. May we respectfully request for copies of all the Minutes in said case," the letter stated.
A formal offer of evidence is reportedly made after presentation of all testimonial evidence and is usually followed by a notice to the court that the party making the offer is resting its case.
The announcement came as a surprise since government lawyers earlier insisted in court that they still have several important witnesses to put to the stand including former First Lady Imelda Marcos, who is claiming that her family rightfully owns some 60 percent of several Tan-controlled companies.
The companies are: Fortune Tobacco Corp., Asia Brewery, Inc., Allied Banking Corp., Foremost Farms, Himmel Industries Inc., Grandspan Development Corp., Silangan Holdings Inc., Dominium Realty & Construction Corp., and Shareholdings Inc.
Catalino Generillo, lead counsel for the government, had said he will present the Marcos widow as a hostile or adverse witness to corroborate the testimony of her son, Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. who, under direct examination by the PCGG lawyer in November 2007, testified that his late father informed him about the extent of their family's holdings in Tan's companies.
Rep. Marcos' testimony was cut short however after he failed to present originals of documents he produced to support his testimony.
In addition, Mrs. Marcos has failed to show up in court to back up her son's claims despite having been summoned seven times.
The original complaint in Civil Case No. 0005 was filed by the PCGG at the Sandiganbayan in July 1987 but was amended twice by government lawyers, the last on September 5, 1991.
Named in the lawsuit were the Marcos estate, Mrs. Marcos, former Central Bank Governor Gregorio Licaros, the late Philippine National Bank President Panfilo Domingo and others.
The goverenment prosecutors are seeking award of P50 billion in damages and P1 billion for legal expenses against the defendants.