Sandigan affirms ruling letting Enrile off the hook in Marcos behest case
The Sandiganbayan has affirmed its ruling letting off the hook former defense minister and senator Juan Ponce Enrile in the behest loan case against the cronies of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
In a resolution promulgated on April 17, the anti-graft court Second Division denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) way back in 2005 on the anti-graft court’s 2004 resolution dropping Enrile from the accused in Civil Case 0033-H involving the behest loans.
The behest loans pertain to funds granted by the Development Bank of the Philippines, Philippine Tourism Authority to the businesses of alleged Marcos’ crony Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. – Northern Cement Corp., Holiday Villages Philippines, and Coral Islands Resort and Development Corp.
Enrile was included in the Civil Case 0033-H filed before the court in 1987. It is one of the several civil cases involving ill-gotten wealth lodged against Marcos, his wife Imelda, his heirs and his cronies.
In its latest resolution, the court agreed with Enrile’s defense that the plaintiff failed to specify the acts for which he was included in the civil case.
In its 2004 resolution, the court already said the amended complaint over the behest loans and contract “mentions no act or omission” implicating Enrile, and that the complaint “consists of mere inferences and conclusions which cannot give rise to any cause of action against defendant Enrile.”
The court said dropping Enrile’s name is “justified” because it appears Enrile’s name was only “erroneously included” in the complaint.
In its recent resolution, the court found no merit in the motion for reconsideration filed by the plaintiff that Enrile was “deliberately” included in the complaint “after thoughtful evaluation of all relevant facts and circumstances.”
While the plaintiff said Enrile was included as a “conspirator” owing to his role in Marcos’ martial rule which is “well-known and part of recent history,” the court said the complaint does not state any acts or omissions attributed to Enrile, and that it merely contains “a broad allegation that the defendants conspired with each other” to accumulate ill-gotten wealth.
Enrile is said to be the main architect of martial law that cemented Marcos’ two decade rule. He later turned his back on Marcos and led the military to a peaceful people uprising that toppled the dictatorship.
What the plaintiff mentioned in its motion for reconsideration are mere “factual averments to demonstrate the participation of defendant Enrile in the acquisition of ill-gotten wealth” as a conspirator, the court said.
“This Court restates the findings in the assailed Resolution that the dropping of defendant Enrile from the complaint is justified. Indeed, the Third Amended Complaint contains mere inferences and conclusions of law, which are not statements of fact sufficient to implicate defendant Enrile,” the court said.
“In this case, the plaintiff’s Third Amended Complaint shows that no statements of the ultimate facts were presented that would constitute or support the plaintiff’s cause of action against defendant Enrile,” the court added.
Civil Case 003-H involved behest loans and credit privileges granted by the Development Bank of the Philippines in the amount of P603.3 million for the benefit of Northern Cement Corp.; acquisition of the plant, machineries and facilities of Alpha Integrated Textile Mills Inc. in favor of Southern Textile Mills under disadvantageous terms; and loan and advances from the Philippine Tourism Authority in favor of Holiday Villages Philippines Inc. and Coral Island Resort and Development Corp. in the amount of P70 million to finance a ghost village resort complex project.
Cojuangco controls the Northern Cement Corp, Southern Textile Mills Inc., and Holiday Villages Philippines Inc. and Coral Island Resort and Development Corp.
The latest resolution was penned by Associate Justice Michael Frederick Musngi and concurred by division chairperson Associate Justice Oscar Herrera Jr. and Associate Justice Zaldy Trespeses.
Pending several civil cases before the court, Imelda Marcos, now an Ilocos Norte congresswoman and known for her lavish lifestyle as First Lady, faces 10 criminal charges of graft before the anti-graft court Fifth Division for allegedly having pecuniary interests in various foundations set up by her and her husband the dictator Marcos to accumulate ill-gotten wealth.
Rep. Marcos was charged with graft as early as 1991 for the alleged offenses when she was a member of the Interim Batasan Pambansa and Minister for Human Settlements. She is on trial.
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