MANILA - The dismissal of the P200 billion civil suit against late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos and his family was warranted because government has already recovered numerous assets and properties over the years, a Sandiganbayan justice said.
Associate Justice Maryann Corpus Manalac, in her separate concurring opinion to the decision penned by Sandiganbayan 4th Division Chairperson Alex Quiroz, said mootness of the case is the proper ground for dismissal.
“Indeed, res judicata and mootness are the proper grounds insofar as the numerous assets and properties that had previously been recovered are concerned, either by favorable judgments or though compromise agreements, as the case may be,” Manalac said.
It appeared that Manalac disagreed with the main decision of Quiroz that the dismissal of case was based on the lack of strong evidence as photocopied documents defied the best evidence rule, among others.
“After a judicious scrutiny of all the pieces of evidence offered in this case, the court finds the plaintiff’s evidence falls short of the quantum required by law,” Quiroz said in the main decision with the concurrence of Manalac and Associate Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega.
Manalac noted that the government has already recovered through forfeiture cases or compromise agreements illegally acquired assets of the Marcoses.
She stated that Supreme Court decisions in Republic vs. Sandiganbayan and Marcos, Marcos, Jr. vs. Republic and Estate of Ferdinand Marcos vs. Republic which ordered the forfeiture of $658 million Swiss deposits, Arelma, S.A. properties and funds amounting to $3.3 million and jewelry known as the Malacanan Collection valued at $110,055 to $153,089, which all arose from Civil Case No. 0141, have long attained finality.
Manalac noted that identity of issues exists between Civil Case No. 0141 and Civil Case No. 0002.
“Conformably to the foregoing ratiocination, I respectfully vote for the dismissal of the present complaint relative to all the numerous assets, properties and corporations that had already been successfully recovered by plaintiff, as explained above, whether pleaded by plaintiff or not on the grounds of conclusiveness of judgment and mootness as the case may be and not for the failure of plaintiff to prove its allegations by preponderance of evidence,” she said.
Manalac said among the assets already recovered by the government either through compromise agreement or other related cases are Philippine Telecommunications Investment Corporation shares, properties in Cabuyao, Laguna; Paoay, Ilocos Norte; the Sto. Nino Shrine and People’s Center in Tacloban City; the Swiss deposits; Arelma assets and properties, as well as jewelry and paintings.
Mañalac also emphasized that if the subject properties were not ill-gotten, former President Marcos would not have resorted to using dummies in his transactions.
“If all these financial transactions were lawful and legitimate, one wonders why the former President had to use dummies and trustees in the acquisition of assets and properties here and overseas,” Mañalac said.