CHR warns dismissal of Marcos cases may lead to doubts on dictator's abuses

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 17 2019 07:56 PM | Updated as of Dec 17 2019 08:31 PM

MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) warned that the recent dismissal by the Sandiganbayan of civil forfeiture cases involving the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and their cronies might contribute to the spread of fake news that atrocities did not happen during the Marcos dictatorship.

The CHR said Tuesday that the setbacks suffered by Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in court might have an adverse effect on the awareness of the public on martial law.

On Monday, the Sandiganbayan 4th Division dismissed Civil Case No. 0002, in which the government sought P200 billion actual damages for the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family.

“It’s sad because while we respect the decision of the court because they had to dismiss it on grounds of technicality dahil nga yung pinakitang ebidensya (because the shown evidence) was not in conformity with the best evidence rule,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said.

"There might be a danger that the public might think that martial law never really happened and the atrocities committed is fake news."

The CHR, created in 1987 after the EDSA People Power Revolution toppled the Marcos regime, said it hopes that the remaining civil cases pending before the Sandiganbayan will not be dismissed.

As of the last count, 17 civil cases are still pending after 4 dismissals this year from a total of 43 cases filed. 

“The challenge is for PCGG and OSG to really build-up their cases, make sure that the remaining cases will not be dismissed on mere technicality. Magaling ang mga abugado sa PCGG at OSG, so naniniwala tayo na kailangan pa nilang magpursige (Lawyers of PCGG and OSG are excellent, so we believe they still have to work further),” De Guia said.

The CHR stressed on the importance of recovering the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses plundered during the 20-year rule of former President Ferdinand Marcos. 

“Dapat nating tandaan na una, may mga biktima talaga dun sa martial law. Recompensation is a vital pillar of justice and kailangan talaga mabayaran sila ng danyos, at malaki ang nilalarong papel ng ill-gotten wealth para maibalik 'yun sa victims na nag-suffer,” De Guia said.

(We have to remember that first, there are real victims during martial law. Recompensation is a vital pillar of justice and the victims need to be given that, and the ill-gotten wealth has a huge role to play for them to receive that.)