MANILA - The Sandiganbayan has ordered the return of millions in ill-gotten wealth of Marcos cronies Jose Africa and Manuel Nieto, Jr.
In its decision on Civil Case No. 0009 promulgated December 4, 2019, the anti-graft court declared that the shares of Africa and Nieto, Jr. in Eastern Telecommunications Philippines Inc., as well as Polygon Investors and Managers Inc. and Aerocom Investors and Managers Inc. and other small shareholders, are all ill-gotten wealth.
The court also ordered Africa and Nieto, substituted by their legal heirs, to re-convey to the government their shares in Eastern Telecommunications Philippines, Inc., including all stock and cash dividends received and interests collected.
The legal heirs of Africa and Nieto, were also ordered to jointly and severally pay the republic P1 million as exemplary damages.
The court likewise ordered Aerocom and defendant Nieto to pay the amount of P68.167 million, which is equivalent to the value of their Eastern shares it had transferred to ISM Communications Corporation in 2005.
The order of sequestration dated June 15, 1988 over Polygon Investors and Managers Inc. was however lifted by the court as it was not proven that the corporation is part of the ill-gotten wealth of former President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda.
The resolution was penned by presiding Justice and Division Chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Bernelito Fernandez and Sarah Jane Fernandez.
The court, however, dismissed the cases against defendants Juan Ponce Enrile, Ferdinand and Imelda for failure of the republic to establish “preponderance of evidence against them.”
Civil Case No. 0009, a complaint for reconveyance, reversion, accounting, restitution and damages against Africa, Nieto, the Marcoses, as well as Enrile and other cronies, was one of the civil suits filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government for the recovery of accumulated assets, funds and properties unlawfully acquired by the defendants.
In the list of estimated valuation of civil cases released by the PCGG in 2009, Civil Case No. 0009 involved an estimated P2.7 billion worth of alleged ill-gotten wealth in Eastern Telecommunications as well as other companies.