Gov’t loses P51 billion claim against Marcos cronies


Posted at Aug 09 2010 08:26 PM | Updated as of Aug 10 2010 04:26 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The family of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos won another case before the Sandiganbayan in connection to alleged behest loans granted to supposed cronies.

In a 27-page decision penned by Associate Justice Alex L. Quiroz, the graft court junked the almost 2-decade-old case for insufficiency of evidence.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) filed the case on July 24, 1987, claiming that the Marcoses and their alleged cronies engaged in “schemes, devices or stratagems” in order to supposedly acquire ill-gotten assets.

Also named in the suit are businessman Rodolfo and Roberto Cuenca, former Philippine National Bank president Panfilo O. Domingo, former Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin, former Development Bank of the Philippines officer Don Ferry, and 11 others.

The government had asked for P50 billion in moral damages and P1 billion in exemplary damages.

Of the 100 documentary exhibits that lawyers submitted during the trial, the graft court threw out 68 for being mere photocopies.

“The Court held that since the due execution and authenticity of said photocopied documents had not been proved, the same were inadmissible in evidence. Further, the documents in question were rendered inadmissible as they were only photocopies,” the court said.

None of the 5 witnesses the prosecution presented even had personal knowledge of the alleged behest loans and transactions, it added.

The graft court also subsequently quashed the government’s move to forfeit the assets owned by the defendants in 46 companies, including the Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP).

The latter is the predecessor of the Philippine National Construction Corp.

Cuenca is former president of the CDCP.

PCGG claimed Marcos had granted Cuenca several favors, including the absorption of obligations that CDCP had incurred. Cuenca is supposedly Marcos’s favorite golf partner.

The Sandiganbayan, however, said the financial support extended to CDCP does not prove that Cuenca unjustly enriched himself.