Sandiganbayan junks 34-year-old ill-gotten wealth complaint vs Marcoses

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 16) — An anti-graft court has dismissed a three-decade civil case involving the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and two of their supposed cronies due to insufficiency of evidence.

In a June 30 decision, the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division junked Civil Case 0011 which was filed on July 22, 1987 by the Presidential Commission on Good Government against former President Ferdinand Marcos, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, and late businessmen Ricardo Silverio Sr. and Pablo Carlos Jr.

The ruling, which was only shown to the media this week, said the PCGG failed to present evidence on its complaint for "reconveyance, reversion, accounting, restitution and damages" which would prove that the Marcoses received kickbacks from contracts awarded to Silverio and Carlos, their close business associates.

“After a judicious scrutiny of all the pieces of evidence offered in this case, the Court finds that the plaintiff’s evidence falls short of the quantum required by law. Thus, the Court is constrained to dismiss the instant complaint,” the decision read.

The 60-page ruling was penned by Division Chairperson Alex Quiroz, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Lorifel Pahimna and Edgardo Caldona.

The complaint said Silverio and Carlos gave kickbacks and commissions to the Marcoses "in hundreds of thousands of US dollars" in exchange for contracts for Kawasaki Scrap Loaders and Toyota Rear Dump Trucks.

Silverio, a former lawmaker, died in 2016. Meanwhile, Carlos died in 1998.

The PCGG did not indicate the total amount of assets that needed to be given back, but they include real estate properties, particularly parcels of land and condominium units in California, and a 28-unit apartment in Ecology Village in Makati City.

The commission also questioned the shares of stocks in Silcor Finance USA, Inc.; Astroair Services, Inc.; C&M Timber; Air Manila; and Delta Motors Corporation.

The court said there was no proof that the said properties were illegally acquired.

Sandiganbayan also mentioned Silverio's supposed testimony in a US court showing that Marcos approved the former's application for a ₱6 million loan in exchange for 20% shares of the capital stock of Delta Motors Corporation. However, it said that the PCGG only submitted a photocopy instead of an original copy of the transcript.

The PCGG also cited in its complaint Silverio's letter dated January 2, 1974 to Marcos where he thanked the latter for the completion of a certain project involving the shipment of machineries for their Progressive Car Manufacturing Program.

However, the court said "there was no concrete proof" in the letter that would show Marcos giving "extraordinary grants and privileges" to Silverio.

The Sandiganbayan has thrown out a handful of cases involving the Marcos family's allegedly ill-gotten wealth, one of which was the junked ₱200-billion worth of funds and properties which they allegedly amassed illegally. The anti-graft court also cited lack of sufficient evidence on the case.