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20 cases vs Marcoses dismissed so far; 21 pending

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
20 cases vs Marcoses dismissed so far; 21 pending
Data from the anti-graft court’s Judicial Records Division showed that 21 more forfeiture cases against the Marcoses remain pending and one was ordered indefinitely archived.
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MANILA, Philippines — Twenty forfeiture cases against the Marcos family and their cronies have been dismissed by the Sandiganbayan.

Data from the anti-graft court’s Judicial Records Division showed that 21 more forfeiture cases against the Marcoses remain pending and one was ordered indefinitely archived.

The recent decision by the Sandiganbayan Second Division is the 20th civil forfeiture case against the Marcoses and their cronies dismissed by the anti-graft court.

So far, only one case, docketed as Civil Case No. 0033-F, was ruled in favor of the government. It involves the turnover to the state of P83 billion in assets acquired through the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) or coco levy fund for the benefit of coconut farmers.

All the 43 cases were filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) in 1987, or a year after dictator Ferdinand Marcos was ousted through a popular revolt.

Civil Case No. 0034, which was dismissed by the anti-graft court’s Second Division in a decision promulgated on Aug. 5, sought to claim from Marcos, his wife Imelda and 11 of their cronies a total of P102 billion in moral and exemplary damages.

The case stemmed from the alleged grant of excessive loans to several firms, particularly the shipping companies owned by the late ambassador to Japan Roberto Benedicto, during the martial law regime as well as the alleged pocketing of funds for the supposed improvement of the facilities of state broadcast networks International Broadcasting Corp., Radio Philippine Network Inc. and Banahaw Broadcasting Corp.

PCGG to appeal case

The case was dismissed by the Second Division for lack of evidence, saying the PCGG, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), merely presented photocopies of documents and failed to present key witnesses during the trial to authenticate their affidavits.

The PCGG said it would appeal the dismissal of the P102-billion civil case against the Marcos family and their cronies.

“I am still awaiting receipt of the official copy of the decision,” PCGG acting chairman Reynold Munsayac told The STAR yesterday.

 “We will definitely consult the handling lawyers from the OSG and explore all possible legal remedies to pursue the case and protect the interests of the Republic,” he added.

Aside from the Marcos couple, also cleared in the forfeiture case were 11 of their supposed cronies: Jose Tengco Jr., Placido Mapa Jr., Rafael Sison, Don Ferry, Ramon Monzon, Generosa Olazo, Cynthia Cheong, Ma. Luisa Nograles, Leopoldo Vergara, Jose Africa and Rodolfo Arambulo. 

Two of the 21 pending cases have been submitted for resolution since last year.

Civil Case No. 0008 was submitted for decision by the Second Division on Nov. 9, 2018. 

The case seeks to recover from the Marcoses and their cronies a total of P1.052 billion in alleged ill-gotten wealth composed of P609.27 million in shares of stocks and P443.05 million in real properties. The PCGG is also seeking P50 billion in moral damages and P1 billion in exemplary damages on top of nominal damages and other judicial costs, the amounts of which will be determined by the court.

Civil Case No. 0002, which is pending before the Fourth Division, was submitted for decision in August 2018.

The case seeks to recover from Imelda and her children Imee, Bongbong and Irene a total of P200 billion worth of ill-gotten wealth allegedly amassed during martial law.

The forfeiture cases were apart from the criminal complaints filed by the Office of the Ombudsman against Mrs. Marcos, who formerly served as representative of Ilocos Norte.

In November last year, the Fifth Division convicted Mrs. Marcos of seven counts of graft over her illegal creation of private foundations in Switzerland, where she and the late dictator allegedly stashed around $200 million in public funds amassed during martial law.

She had informed the Fifth Division that she would appeal her conviction before the Supreme Court.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. slammed the Liberal Party (LP) for the government’s setback to recover the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.

Locsin, who served as spokesman and legal counsel of former president Corazon Aquino, said an LP official left a briefcase of evidence against the Marcoses and their cronies in the US.

Former senator and former LP president Jovito Salonga was appointed by Aquino as chairman of the PCGG, which was tasked to recover the ill-gotten wealth supposedly amassed by the Marcos family. With Janvic Mateo, Pia Lee-Brago

MARCOS FAMILY SANDIGANBAYAN
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