SC upholds junking of graft case vs Marcos cronies
The Supreme Court has upheld the dismissal 10 years ago of a graft complaint filed against cronies of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in connection with a P109-million alleged behest loan extended by the Philippine National Bank (PNB) to a sugar milling company in 1968.
In a decision dated March 20, 2019, the high court’s Second Division unanimously rejected the petition of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to overturn the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman on Dec. 29, 2006, which it upheld on April 21, 2009, dismissing the complaint.
The Ombudsman dismissed the criminal complaint filed by the PCGG against the directors of PNB in 1968, namely Juan Ponce Enrile, Roberto Benedicto, Antonio Diaz, Ismael Reinoso, Simeon Miranda, Renato Tayag, Juan Trivinio, Cesar Virata, Jose Macario Laurel IV and Jose Leido.
The Ombudsman also cleared Rafael Perez and Felicisimo Gonzalo, the former branch managers of PNB-Dumaguete, as well as Ramon Escafio, Herminio Teves, Evelina Teves, Lorenzo Teves, Catalino Noel and Lamberto Macias, all executives of Tolong Sugar Milling Company Inc. (TSMCI).
“The PCGG failed to show that the Ombudsman gravely abused its discretion when it dismissed the criminal complaint,” the five-member Second Division said.
It said the PCGG failed to show “any statement or allegation purportedly showing that the Ombudsman exercised its power in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility.”
In its complaint, the PCGG said TSMCI did not have enough capital and collateral when the PNB granted it a loan of P108.9 million in March 1968.
The loan was supposedly meant for the importation of equipment for a proposed sugar central site in Santa Catalina and Bayawan, Negros Oriental. —Dona Z. Pazzibugan
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