Sandiganbayan affirms dismissal of P102-B Marcos forfeiture case

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2020 05:20 PM

Former President Ferdinand Marcos (center) poses with members of his family on January 15, 1986, namely: his wife Imelda; eldest daughter Imee and her husband at the time, Tomas Manotoc (right); youngest daughter Irene and her husband Greggy Araneta (left); son Bongbong (behind Marcos); and Marcos' grandchildren Luis (on his lap), Alfonso (Irene's lap) and Borgy (left), carried by Ferdinand and Imelda's adopted daughter, Aimee. Malacañang handout/AFP

MANILA — The Sandiganbayan 2nd Division turned down the appeal of plaintiff Republic of the Philippines for the reversal of the dismissal of the P102-billion forfeiture case of former President Ferdinand Marcos, his wife Imelda, and their cronies.

The anti-graft court cited insufficiency of evidence in denying the motion for reconsideration filed by the government on the junking of Civil Case No. 0034 against the Marcoses. 

“Considering therefore that no new and compelling grounds were presented, the motion bears no weight in calling for a reversal much less modification of the assailed decision,” the court said in a resolution promulgated last Feb. 13. 

In an Aug. 5 decision, the court said the Presidential Commission on Good Government failed to present evidence that the Marcoses and their co-accused participated in irregular loan accommodation to companies such as Aklan Bulk Carriers Inc., Fuga Bulk Carriers Inc., Coron Bulk Carriers Inc., and Ecija Bulk Carriers Inc.; appropriated for their unjust enrichment, income revenues from the operations of government-controlled television stations; among others.

In its appeal, the government through the Office of the Solicitor General called for a relaxation of technical rules as regards the admissibility and probative value of its documentary evidence in the interest of justice.

It further argued that the pieces of evidence presented during trial established that defendants Rafael Sison, Placido Mapa, Jr., Don Ferry and Jose Tengco, Jr., in their capacity as members of the Development Bank of the Philippines during Marcos' presidency extended loans to Aklan Bulk Carriers and others which were grossly disadvantageous to the government.

In one of the oppositions to the appeal submitted to the court, defendant Tengco maintained that the DBP approved the loans in the exercise of its sound business judgment.

However, the court said in its ruling that the pieces of evidence did not show that the defendants were in close association with the Marcos couple.

“The mere fact that the remaining defendants had held key positions in the government during the term of then President F. Marcos does not lead to the conclusion that defendants took advantage of their positions and embarked upon devices, schemes and stratagems to unjustly enrich themselves,” the court said.

The court also reiterated that the government “miserably failed” to produce the originals of the documents during trial, despite the considerable length of time they had to gather relevant evidence. 

Associate Justice Lorifel Lacap Pahimna penned the resolution, with the concurrence of Division Chairperson Oscar Herrera, Jr. and Associate Justice Michael Frederick Musngi.