Goverment (PCGG) against former first lady Imelda Marcos, her children Imee, Bongbong and Irene in 1987 was already submitted for decision as of last August.
P200 billion forfeiture cases vs Marcoses up for decision
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - November 13, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A civil case seeking to recover P200 billion in government funds allegedly plundered by the Marcos family during their two-decade reign is nearing resolution at the Sandiganbayan.

The anti-graft court’s Fourth Division’s records show that Civil Case No. 0002 filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Goverment (PCGG) against former first lady Imelda Marcos, her children Imee, Bongbong and Irene in 1987 was already submitted for decision as of last August.

This was after both parties submitted their respective memoranda containing the summary of their arguments, testimonies of witnesses and documentary evidence presented in the course of the trial, which lasted about 20 years. 

Fourth Division records show that the PCGG, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed its memorandum on May 8, 2018 while the Marcoses filed their memorandum on July 31, 2018.

“Yes, right after the last memorandum was filed, we transmitted the entire records of the case to the chamber of the justices for their decision,” a staff member of the Fourth Divison who refused to be identified said.

Filed by the PCGG in July 1987, the information of the case has undergone three amendments until 1998. 

Based on the amended case information, Mrs. Marcos and her husband, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, illegally amassed from government coffers a total of P200 billion during the martial law regime.

The PCGG said the Marcoses also obtained massive loans, guarantees and other types of financial accommodations from government banks through overpriced projects; received kickbacks, commissions and bribes from persons and corporations entering into contracts with the government; established monopolies in commerce particularly in agriculture and gambling; and illegal sale of various government corporations and properties.

The PCGG said the Marcos couple stashed the illegally acquired wealth in several banks locally and abroad, as well as in several foundations. The PCGG said the couple also used the funds in the purchase of real estate and shares of stocks.

Among the supposed ill-acquired assets of the Marcoses identified by the PCGG in its complaints were deposits at the Security Bank and Trust (P976 million) and Traders Royal Bank (P711 million); 33 parcels of residential properties with an estimated value of P18 million and a 21,700-hectare agricultural land in Leyte with estimated value of P33 million; shares of stock in Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) estimated at P1.6 billion; deposits in several banks in the United States estimated at $292 million; investments in financial houses, industrial and mining corporations in the US at approximately $98 million; as well as unvalued real properties in Manhattan, Long Island and Fifth Avenue in New York, a penthouse in London, residential houses in Honolulu in Hawaii, Beverly Hills in California and Cedars in Mississippi.

Apart from seeking the forfeiture from Mrs. Marcos and her children a total of P200 billion in actual damages representing the alleged ill-gotten wealth, the PCGG is also praying to the court to order the Marcoses to reimburse the government P250 million representing the expenses incurred in its efforts to recover the wealth.

The PCGG is also seeking P50 billion in moral damages and P1 billion in exemplary damages. The PCGG said the Marcoses must also be compelled to pay temperate damages, nominal damages and other judicial costs, the amounts of which shall be determined by the court.

Civil Case No. 0002 is among the 43 civil cases that PCGG filed at the Sandiganbayan against Mrs. Marcos and her children since her husband’s ouster in 1986 through a people’s revolt.

The Sandiganbayan had earlier dismissed 19 of the cases, one was indefinitely archived, while 23 others including Civil Case No. 0002 remain pending.

This is apart from the criminal cases that the PCGG has also filed against Mrs. Marcos, now the representative of Ilocos Norte. 

Last Friday, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division convicted Mrs. Marcos on seven counts of graft in connection with her illegal creation of foundations in Switzerland in which she and her late husband supposedly transferred around $200 million in government funds. 

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in December 1991, the cases stemmed from Mrs. Marcos’ creation of the Swiss foundations when she was minister of human settlements and the concurrent Metro Manila governor from 1976 to 1986 and member of the Interim Batasan Pambansa from 1978 to 1984.

The court sentenced her to a minimum of six years to a maximum of 11 years of imprisonment for each count. 

While the Fifth Division on Friday granted the prosecution’s request to order Mrs. Marcos’ arrest following her failure to attend the promulgation of the decision, no arrest warrant has actually been issued as of close of court office hours yesterday at 4:30 p.m.

Imelda’s age

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is considering the age and health of Mrs. Marcos once the Sandiganbayan issues a warrant for her arrest after she was convicted of graft and corruption.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde defended the police following criticism that the PNP seems to be applying double standard in their treatment of Marcos compared to opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV when President Duterte ordered the arrest of the senator after the Chief Executive issued an executive order revoking the amnesty granted to Trillanes.

“We have to take into consideration the age. In any arrest, anybody for that matter, that has to be taken into consideration, the health, the age,” Albayalde told a press briefing in Camp Crame.

The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division on Friday found Marcos guilty on seven counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection with her alleged financial interests in Swiss-based foundations.

The lack of police presence around Marcos did not sit well with some critics of the Duterte administration, including former solicitor general and senatorial candidate Florin Hilbay who said on Twitter that the PNP refuses to arrest Marcos, who is 89 years old, because of her age.

However, Albayalde insisted that they will follow the order of the anti-graft court if a warrant of arrest is issued against Marcos, adding he already directed the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to make preparations.

Trillanes, a critic of the administration, was ordered arrested by President Duterte after he revoked his amnesty for rebellion. Prior to getting a favorable decision from a Makati court, the PNP deployed policemen at the Senate.

Albayalde said they were only securing the premises, adding there is a constant presence of police officers at the Senate. It was also a preemptive measure in the event an arrest warrant against Trillanes was issued.

Albayalde said the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City is ready to accommodate Marcos in the event the court orders that she be detained in the facility.

The leadership of the House of Representatives declared yesterday that it would follow the rule of law as enunciated by the judiciary with regard to the conviction of former first lady Marcos. 

“While there are remedies available to all persons under our criminal justice system including but not limited to provisional remedies and appeal, the House will respect and abide by the decision of the Sandiganbayan,” House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said. 

The human rights group Karapatan said the PNP “cowardly refuses to arrest the criminal Imelda, fearing her wrath.” 

Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said out of 517 political prisoners in the country, 40 are elderly and 115 are sickly.  

“Not one of them was given humanitarian consideration. The real thieves and criminals need only to buy a wheelchair to escape accountability,” Palabay claimed. 

“Imelda and the Marcos family should be jailed. They continue to be the face of impunity in the country, coddled by this equally murderous and vindictive regime,” while also insisting “(that) the Duterte government is just as accountable for allowing these parasites to return to power,” said Palabay.  – With Rhodina Villanueva, Delon Porcalla, Artemio Dumlao

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