Philippine government loses (again) 29 - year forfeiture case against the Marcoses

Thursday August 25, 2016 ()

Marcos wins again against forfeiture case

The Sandiganbayan has dismissed the 29-year-old forfeiture case against the late former President Ferdinand E. Marcos and his wife Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda R. Marcos because of the lack of evidence to prove that the disputed properties were ill-gotten. The decision was promulgated on August 15, 2016, a copy of which was obtained by the media Wednesday, August 24.

Aside from the Marcoses, also cleared of liability were Imelda's siblings Armando and the late Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez, Armando's wife Vilma, Nelia Gonzales and Ricardo Quintos.

Philippine government loses (again) 29 - year forfeiture case against the Marcoses

In a 76-page decision, the anti-graft court granted demurrers to evidence filed by the three defendants in Civil Case No. 0019.

It was associate Justice and First Division chairman Efren de la Cruz who penned the ruling with Associate Justices Michael Frederick Musngi and Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega concurring.

The case was originally filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government on July 27, 1987.

It sought forfeiture in favor of the government of 67 parcels of land in the provinces of Isabela, Camarines Sur, Occidental Mindoro, Masbate, and in La Vista, Quezon City; shares of stocks in six private corporations; bank deposits; a fleet of heavy equipment vehicles; 500 heads of imported breeding cattle; six airplanes; a helicopter; and a racehorse.

Aside from the Romualdezes, also named defendants in the case were former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, former first lady Imelda R. Marcos, Nelia Gonzales, and Ricardo Quintos.

Government lawyers claimed the defendants used Golden Country Farms Inc., Imperial Livestock Industries Inc., Isabela Gas and Power Development Corp., Highway Builders Inc., Maconacon Airways Inc., and Dipudo Industries Inc. to get behest loans from government financial institutions which they allegedly used to acquire the disputed assets.

But in dismissing the case, the anti-graft court declared that the government failed to establish the fact that the sequestered properties were ill-gotten wealth.

This, despite the 25 witnesses and 400 documentary exhibits presented during the three-decade long court proceedings.

The Sandiganbayan pointed out:

"The Republic failed to support the acceptability of its secondary evidence. It proceeded with the presentation and identification of photocopied documents by their custodians, offered and submitted them in evidence, without a clear explanation on the whereabouts of their originals."


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