MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 4th Division has dismissed a civil case involving former First Lady Imelda Marcos and the estate of late businessman Ricardo Silverio for the failure of the Philippine government to present evidence on alleged ill-gotten properties during the Marcos regime.
In a decision promulgated on June 30, 2021, the anti-graft court said the government failed to fully present its evidence and prove the allegations in the complaint for reconveyance, reversion, accounting, restitution and damages filed on July 22, 1987 by the Presidential Commission on Good Government against Silverio, Pablo Carlos, Jr. former President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda.
“Plaintiff miserably failed to do so as plaintiff’s evidence did not preponderantly show that the various business interests of defendant Silverio have enjoyed considerable grants and privileges obtained from defendant Ferdinand Marcos during his tenure as chief executive and such privileges could not have been so obtained were it not for the close association of defendant Silverio with Ferdinand Marcos,” the court said in the decision.
The decision was penned by Division Chairperson Alex Quiroz, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Lorifel Pahimna and Edgardo Caldona.
The case involved 17 real estate properties including parcels of land and condominium units in California and a 28-unit apartment in Ecology Village in Makati City.
Also questioned by the PCGG were personal properties such as shares of stock in Silcor Finance, USA, Inc., Astroair Services, C&M Timber, Air Manila, and Delta Motors Corporation.
In the complaint, the PCGG alleged that Silverio and Carlos, Jr. took undue advantage of their relationship with the Marcoses as they acted as “dummies, nominees and agents” of the couple.
The PCGG said that the Marcoses received kickbacks in hundreds of thousands of US dollars in exchange for an award to Silverio of Kawasaki Scrap Loaders and Toyota Rear Dump Trucks.
The businessmen also supposedly received exemptions by the then Central Bank of the Philippines in the form of increased dollar import quota allocation for the importation of Toyota vehicles for Delta Motors, Inc.
During trial, Silverio maintained that he was a legitimate businessman and all import quota allocations and credit facilities extended to him were in accordance with sound banking practices.
Carlos, Jr. said that of all exhibits offered against him, an alleged letter of Silverio cannot be appreciated against him under the principle res inter alios acta.
In its decision, the court agreed that there was no evidence against defendant Estate of Pablo Carlos, Jr.
The court also said that while the complaint listed the properties, there was no showing as to the manner how Silverio and his co-defendants Pablo Carlos Jr. and Ferdinand Marcos illegally acquired the said properties.
“More importantly, there was no evidence presented to show that these properties were in fact owned by them and that the same were ill-gotten,” the court said.
The court took note that the government offered the transcript of Silverio’s testimony in 1990 in United States vs. Imelda Marcos and Adnan Kashogi before the US District court Southern District of New York as one of the exhibits.
The transcript would supposedly show that Ferdinand Marcos ordered the Social Security System to approve the application of Silverio for a loan of P6 million in consideration of the former receiving shares in Delta Motors Corporation amounting to 20 percent of the corporation’s outstanding capital stock.
“Plaintiff submitted only a photocopy of the said transcript and the same was never compared to the original copy. The original and authenticated copy of the transcript was never submitted to the court,” the court said.
The court added that there is no legal basis for the prayer of the PCGG for the accounting of the properties and assets of whatever kind and wherever located in excess of their lawful earnings.
“As regard the parties’ claim for damages, the court cannot grant the same without evidence establishing entitlement to the same,” the court said.