Sandigan grants gov’t bid to appeal junked forfeiture case vs Marcoses, cronies
MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has allowed government lawyers to appeal the dismissal of a forfeiture case against the family of former President Ferdinand Marcos and their cronies.
In a November 6-resolution penned by Second Division’s Associate Justice Lorifel Pahimna, the motion for reconsideration – which was previously filed but denied for not complying with certain rules – was approved citing a Supreme Court provision, which states that exceptions may be made if only to ensure the right to due process.
The prosecution, composed of lawyers from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), sought for the relaxation of the rules citing the importance of the case.
“It is undisputed that the Motion for Reconsideration was laden with procedural defects for failure to comply with the requirements of Rule 15. Although the inadvertence of the plaintiff’s counsel is not a compelling or sufficient reason to relax the rule, the Court is of the view that the defendant’s right to due process will not be impinged should the Court act on the earlier motion,” the court said.
Last August 8, the same division dismissed the P102 billion forfeiture case against the late dictator and his wife, Imelda, as well as their associates over the prosecution’s inability to produce the original copies of key documentary evidence.
According to the Sandiganbayan, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which has been tasked to retrieve the ill-gotten wealth of Marcoses, did not satisfactorily prove that Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) officials extended loans to various shipping companies owned by Marcos’ cronies.
Since the former president has already died, the case was aimed at his relatives and crony Roberto Benedicto, who supposedly took advantage of his connections to the Marcoses in order to secure loans.
With the court’s resolution, the defendants are given 10 days from receipt of the document to comment or oppose the issue. /kga
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