In a 28-page decision promulgated last April 4, the high court’s First Division dismissed the petition of PCGG seeking reversal of the August 2010 ruling of the Sandiganbayan that junked its civil suit.
AP/Alberto Marquez
SC junks P51 billion PCGG suit vs Marcos, cronies
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - June 20, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has rejected the bid of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to recover P51 billion from the estates of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, his wife Imelda and his cronies that they allegedly acquired through behest loans.

In a 28-page decision promulgated last April 4, the high court’s First Division dismissed the petition of PCGG seeking reversal of the August 2010 ruling of the Sandiganbayan that junked its civil suit.

The SC instead affirmed the anti-graft court’s ruling, which dismissed the complaint for reconveyance, reversion, restitution and damages against the Marcoses and other respondents, including former construction magnate Rodolfo Cuenca and former trade minister Roberto Ongpin.

The high court agreed with the finding of the Sandiganbayan of insufficiency of evidence presented by the PCGG, which is tasked to run after the ill-gotten wealth of the dictator and his cronies.

It held that testimonies of witnesses were “not sufficient to establish that Marcos and the other respondents engaged in schemes, devices and stratagems to acquire ill-gotten assets.”

“Juxtaposing the specific allegations in the complaint with the Republic’s documentary and testimonial evidence and as against the respondent’s documentary and testimonial evidence showing the due organization and existence of the Construction and Development Corp. of the Philippines (CDCP), the Court agrees with the Sandiganbayan that the weight of evidence fails to preponderate in the Republic’s favor,” read the ruling penned by Associate Justice Noel Tijam.

The SC also ruled that the anti-graft court was correct when it excluded a part of the documentary evidence presented by the PCGG during the hearing of the case that were mere photocopies of original documents.

“In sum, absent preponderant evidence to hold otherwise, the Republic failed to prove that the respondents by themselves or in unlawful concert with one another, accumulated or participated in the accumulation of ill-gotten wealth insofar as the specific allegations in the subject complaint are concerned,” the SC said.

“It bears stressing that it is upon the Republic to prove the allegations in its complaint. It is therefore imperative that the operative act on how and in what manner the respondents participated in amassing ill-gotten wealth be demonstrated through preponderance of evidence. In case of failure to do so, the Republic’s complaint will merit nothing but denial,” it added. 

The PCGG has alleged that CDCP was able to obtain “favored” contracts worth billions of pesos from the National Irrigation Administration, Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp., Light Rail Transit project, Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Corp. and the Department of Public Works (now Department of Public Works and Highways) during that time.

The PCGG alleged that the respondents were able to secure loans for CDCP and other financial assistance from the government despite lack of sufficient collateral.

PCGG is facing imminent abolition through pending bills in Congress. 

FERDINAND MARCOS NATIONAL IRRIGATION ADMINISTRATION PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT
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