Imelda Marcos snubs last day of trial for 1991 graft case

Lian Buan

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Imelda Marcos snubs last day of trial for 1991 graft case

Rob Reyes

(UPDATED) The former first lady is accused of creating private foundations in Switzerland from 1978 to 1984 when she was governor of Metro Manila

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED)– Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Imelda Marcos did not attend her last day of trial for a 25-year-old graft case before the Sandiganbayan, which has now been postponed to February 16.

The 5th Division on Tuesday, January 17, reset the trial because the defense failed to present their last evidence, which includes a testimony from deceased former judge Cesario del Rosario.

The 10 counts of graft filed in 1991 against Marcos stemmed from allegations that she created private foundations in Switzerland from 1978 to 1984 while she was governor of Metro Manila.

The former first lady also allegedly held financial interests in several private enterprises, a violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Assistant Special Prosecutor Rey Quilala told reporters that the evidence from the defense team consist of documents dating back to the 1990s. One is a copy of Del Rosario’s testimony when the case was still with the Manila Regional Trial Court. Another is an internal memorandum between Del Rosario, then assistant solicitor general, and Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, then the chief presidential legal counsel of president Fidel Ramos.

The memo is said to be Del Rosario’s briefer to Carpio, as the latter, after being appointed by Ramos in 1992, asked the former for an update on cases against the Marcoses.

Neither the former first lady nor her lawyers attended the hearing.

Quilala told reporters they will seek a formal order so the case could proceed for judgment. The prosecution had rested its case in 2015.

The private foundations that Marcos allegedly formed are considered among her and her family’s hidden assets in Switzerland.

The government has since been able to identify $658 million worth of Marcos Swiss deposits. Documents which were used by the government to track down these deposits are used in related cases, such as this 1991 graft case.

The Sandiganbayan Special 1st Division is also handling another corruption claim against the former first lady, stemming from appeals from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to declare $24 million worth of art collections “unlawfully acquired.” (READ: Recovering Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth: After 30 years, what?–

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.