Marcos ‘conduit bank’ for ill-gotten wealth ordered to pay gov’t
MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has ordered Royal Traders Holding Co. Inc. to pay the government around P96 million and $5.4 million of the ill-gotten wealth of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Formerly Traders Royal Bank (TRB), Royal Traders Holding will have to pay the amount with 12 percent interest per annum starting from February 1993 until fully paid, as ordered by the Second Division of the antigraft court.
The court judgment is the culmination of a complaint filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) against TRB in 1997.
In a 52-page decision promulgated on Sept. 24, the Sandiganbayan said the amounts represented the face value of the 24 bank certificates issued by TRB from 1974 to 1979.
The court said the certificates were among the documents recovered from the Marcoses when they fled to Hawaii in February 1986.
Citing the ruling of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii in 1992, the Sandiganbayan recognized the validity of foreign judgment on the case.
“Certainly, the Philippine legal system has long ago accepted into its jurisprudence and procedural rules the viability of an action for enforcement of foreign judgment, as well as the requisites for such valid enforcement, as derived from internationally accepted doctrines,” the court said in its decision.
It said the US government had turned over to the Philippine government “jewelry, documents and other items brought by the late President Marcos to Hawaii,” including “the banking documents where TRB effectively acknowledged receipt of funds from President Marcos, denominated in Philippine pesos and United States dollars.”
The Sandiganbayan also noted that the US ruling “upheld the settlement executed by Imelda Marcos as well as her right and authority when she ‘assigned her interest, as well as that of the estate of Ferdinand Marcos, to the Republic of the Philippines’,” including the TRB-issued bank certificates.
The PCGG had concluded that Marcos used TRB as a conduit bank for dollar salting.
It sent letters to TRB in 1993 to request the payment of the amounts covered by the bank certificates to the national treasury. But TRB refused to comply.
In 1997, the PCGG filed a complaint against the bank.
TRB claimed then that the “notes, certificates of time deposits, documents and bearer certificates, banking instruments and evidences of indebtedness claimed by plaintiff have all been already paid by the defendant and are no longer outstanding.”
The Sandiganbayan ruled, however, that TRB “remains liable for the payment of the face value of the peso as well as dollar denominated bank certificates in question.”
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