Marcoses, alleged cronies dodge legal bullet anew as Sandiganbayan junks another civil case | Inquirer News

Marcoses, alleged cronies dodge legal bullet anew as Sandiganbayan junks another civil case

/ 01:47 PM June 28, 2023

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Sandiganbayan ( Inquirer file photo / Vince F. Nonato)

MANILA, Philippines — A civil case against the heirs of former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr., including his namesake and incumbent President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., has been dismissed by Sandiganbayan.

The anti-graft has also cleared some of the alleged Marcos cronies from involvement in the case.


Its second division released a decision dated June 27, 2023.

The verdict is in response to Civil Case No. 0014 filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) against former first lady Imelda Marcos and the former president’s heirs – Senator Imee Marcos, the Chief Executive, Irene Marcos-Araneta, and eight others.

The resolution stated the prosecution provided insufficient and, at some point, hearsay evidence.

Sandiganbayan declared PCGG’s move to sequester several properties does not automatically establish that the assets were obtained through illegal means.

These properties included resorts, hotels, food businesses, and construction corporations.

The prosecution had alleged the co-defendants took advantage of their close ties with the former president and the former first lady, acting as their dummies in acquiring the following assets:


Philippine Village Hotel
Ternate Development Corporation
Silahis International Hotel
Hotel Properties, Incorporated
Philroad Construction Corporation
Fantasia Filipinas Resorts, Incorporated
Monte Sol Development Corporation
Olas Del Mar Development Company
Puerta Azul Villas Condominium

The co-defendants were Modesto Enriquez, Trinidad Diaz-Enriquez, Rebecco Panlilio, Erlinda Enriquez-Panlilio, Leandro Enriquez, Don Ferry, Roman Cruz Jr., and Gregorio Castillo.

Second Division Associate Justice Arthur Malabaguio penned the decision.

Division chair Associate Justice Oscar Herrera and Associate Justice Edgardo Caldona concurred.

“To begin with, the Writs of Sequestration previously issued by the PCGG […] marked as Exhibits ‘A’ to ‘D,’ do not, by themselves, prove that the properties are ill-gotten considering that sequestration is only the taking into custody or placing under the PCGG’s control or possession any asset, fund, or other property […] to prevent their concealment, destruction, impairment, or dissipation pending the determination of the question whether said asset, fund, or property is ill-gotten wealth,” the decision read.

“Nothing in the face of these documents shows that defendants Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos had any interest or control over the subject corporations,” proclaimed the resolution.

“This has been duly emphasized by defendants’ witness Ezpeleta-Torralba in testifying that during her entire service to spouses Panlilio, she has never seen defendants Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos take part in the corporation’s meetings and/or activities,” the ruling specified.

Sandiganbayan also noted several pieces of evidence presented by PCGG were inadmissible as judicial evidence.

One instance was that PCGG records custodian Maria Lourdes Magno did not have personal knowledge of the veracity and legitimacy of some of the documents.

She was the sole witness presented by PCGG.

“Witness Magno admitted, however, that her testimony is limited only to the fact that these documents are under the custody of PCGG,” Sandiganbayan noted.

“In other words, the statement of witness Magno being relied upon by the plaintiff was based, not on the declarant’s personal knowledge as to the veracity of the documentary exhibits, but only on the fact that she is the current custodian of the said documents,” the justices pointed out.

Sandiganbayan also said the amended standards on the Best Evidence Rule — which, after 2019, allowed document duplicates as evidence — cannot be applied retroactively to the case.

This means the anti-graft court stood by the old rules, stating that original documents must be produced, not just photocopies or duplicates.

The anti-graft court also said the accuser’s responsible for proving the allegations against the defendants.

“At any rate, it is the duty of the complainant to set forth and prove the facts before the Court, absent which, no recompense can be imposed,” the decision stated.

“In this respect, by clear provision of the law, the proverbial sword of Damocles must necessarily cease to dangle,” it declared.

Civil Case No. 0014 is where the Marcoses had requested that they be allowed to explain their side.

They had said they could not comment on the case due to their self-exile.

In June 2022, the anti-graft court granted the motion, allowing the heirs of the former president to present their defense.

The second division had deemed that “cases should be decided after giving all the parties a chance to argue their cases and defenses.”


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TAGS: Bongbong Marcos, Marcoses, Sandiganbayan

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