Sandiganbayan junks ill-gotten wealth case vs. Marcos Sr., others

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 28) — The Sandiganbayan’s Second Division has dismissed the ill-gotten wealth case filed against the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., his wife Imelda, and their alleged associates due to lack of evidence.

In its 45-page decision, the anti-graft court said the prosecution failed to establish enough evidence to prove that the assets and properties in question were ill-gotten.

"A judicious perusal of the evidence on record shows that the plaintiff failed to sufficiently prove the allegations in its amended complaint. In particular, the plaintiff failed to establish that the subject properties were ill-gotten," the court said.

Filed in 1987, Civil Case No. 0014 sought the forfeiture and recovery of certain assets and properties owned by alleged associates of the Marcoses, including Modesto Enriquez, Trinidad Diaz-Enriquez, Rebecco Panlilio, Erlinda Enriquez-Panlilio, Leandro Enriquez, Don Ferry, Roman Cruz Jr., and Gregorio Castillo.

The companies in question were Ternate Development Corp., Monte Sol Development Corporation, Olas del Mar Development Corporation, Fantasia Filipina Resort, Inc., Sulo Dobbs, Inc., Philippine Village, Inc., Silahis International Hotel, Inc., Hotel Properties, Inc., Puerto Azul Beach and Country Club, and Philroad Construction Corporation.

The prosecution said the accused "in unlawful concert and conspiracy with one another, acquired and accumulated with grave abuse of right and power at the expense" of the government.

But in its decision, the anti-graft court said “nothing on the face of these documents" presented by the prosecution shows that the Marcoses “had any interest or control over the subject corporations."

The testimony of the Presidential Commission on Good Government’s (PCGG) records custodian, the prosecution's sole witness, was set aside after the court pointed out that she had no personal knowledge on the accuracy of the documents presented in court.

The court also said that most of the documents presented were “mere photocopies of the documents in custody of the PCGG, most of which are barely readable."

The resolution was signed by Associate Justice Arthur Malabaguio and concurred in by Associate Justices Oscar Herrera Jr. and Edgardo Caldona.

In a decision dated Feb. 21, the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division also dismissed a civil case against Marcos and others in relation to the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the dictator’s family. The case stemmed from alleged reversion, reconveyance, and accounting against Marcos and other respondents.

But in May, the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division denied for lack of merit a motion by members of the Marcos family to reacquire properties and assets earlier deemed as ill-gotten.