Sandiganbayan affirms dismissal of ill-gotten wealth case vs. Marcoses
MANILA, Philippines–The Sandiganbayan affirmed its decision to dismiss a government lawsuit seeking to recover the Currimao Beach House and several other properties from the Marcos family.
In a 12-page resolution dated July 22, 2022, the Sandiganbayan 4th Division denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to reverse its December 16, 2019 ruling that dismisses its bid for reversion, reconveyance, restitution, accounting of supposed ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses allegedly amounting to P200 billion, as well as damages.
Before the December 16, 2019, ruling, the Sandiganbayan ordered the PCGG to submit its report on the status of the properties that it is trying to recover from the Marcoses.
The court said a sweeping dismissal of the entire complaint on the ground of the Best Evidence Rule (now Original Document Rule) “is not warranted” since many of the subject properties have long been recovered by the government.
Based on the compliance report submitted by the PCGG, the Sandiganbayan noted that many of the properties subject to the present case have already been recovered or transferred to third persons not a party to the case.
These include, among others, shares of stock under the IRC Group of Companies ceded to the government by virtue of a compromise agreement with Jose Campos and private in 1994; 526 pieces of sequestered art collections already turned over to the PCGG and presently under the custody of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for safekeeping; the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company’s 111,415 shares in the of PTIC which were disposed of in 2006 through public bidding in favor of Metro Pacific Assets Holdings, Inc. for a price of P25.2 billion; and the Marcos peso and dollar deposits in Security Bank and Trust Corporation in the amount of P934.6 million and $8 million, respectively, were released/paid to PCGG in 1992 and remitted to the Bureau of Treasury for agrarian reform fund.
Based on the report, the Sandiganbayn noted that only four properties have remained under the control of the Marcoses–the Currimao Beach House registered in the name of Ferdinand E. Marcos; the house in Pandacan, Manila, under the full control and supervision of the Marcoses and registered in the name of heirs of Vicente Romualdez; the Batac Museum which is under the control and supervision of the Marcoses; and the Batac Guest House, also under the control and supervision of the Marcoses.
The Sandiganbayan said it has allowed the PCGG to boost its case by submitting additional evidence.
However, the anti-graft court said the PCGG failed to do so as the latter manifested in its compliance submitted on April 25, 2022 that “all material and relevant documents and pieces of evidence for the instant case have already been presented during the trial.”
“Considering that the evidence already offered by the plaintiff during trial do not sufficiently establish its claims as to the properties mentioned above that are purportedly still within the Marcoses’ control, the Court is constrained to deny the plaintiffs motion for reconsideration dated December 29, 2019 as regard to the said properties,” the Sandiganbayan declared.