Sandiganbayan upholds dismissal of ₱267-M forfeiture case vs. Marcos, cronies

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 6) - The Sandiganbayan Fourth Division upheld its decision to dismiss the P267.37-million forfeiture case against the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, former First Lady Imelda Marcos and cronies.

In its October 2019 decision, the anti-graft court junked the ill-gotten wealth case against the Marcos couple, Fe and Ignacio Gimenez, and other cronies.

In an eight-page resolution dated Jan. 23, the anti-graft court said that the government, through the Presidential Commission on Good Government, provided insufficient evidence.

"The Court is not persuaded. As held by the Court in its presently assailed Resolution, pieces of evidence that were collected by the PCGG in the course of its investigation of the Marcoses' ill-gotten wealth remain as private documents and do not become part of public records," said Sandiganbayan.

It added, "Because what becomes public are not the private documents themselves but rather only the recording thereof in the PCGG."

The government's only evidence was Fe Gimenez's Statement of Assets and Liabilities, to prove the couple's financial incapacity to purchase the properties listed under their name.

The court noted that the evidence presented does not mention the name of Ignacio Gimenez and dates back to 1969.

"The Court would like to stress that the PCGG's power to sequester alleged ill-gotten properties is likened to the provisional remedies of preliminary attachment or receivership," the decision read. "The lifting of the sequestration order does not mean that the property is not ill-gotten wealth, the fact that a property has been sequestered cannot be taken as proof that the same is already ill-gotten wealth."

In rejecting the appeal, Sandiganbayan pointed out the defects in the government's motion.

"The Court finds that the Republic has failed in its burden of proving its case against the Spouses Gimenez by preponderance of evidence and consequently, the present civil forfeiture case should be dismissed."