MANILA, Philippines – Eighteen years after his death, the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan dropped Marcos crony Roberto Benedicto from a P102-billion civil suit.
The Sandiganbayan 2nd Division upheld the government’s own request through the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to exempt Benedicto from the case. The PCGG and Benedicto reached a compromise agreement in 1990, after the government recovered billions of assets from him.
Benedicto died in May 2000. His heirs requested the Sandiganbayan to formally drop him from Civil Case No. 0034, one of the many civil suits pending at the anti-graft court to recover ill-gotten wealth.
But the same civil case will continue against the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and former first lady, now Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Imelda Marcos, and former top officials of the Development Bank of the Philippines.
Death does not automatically extinguish liability as Section 4, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court says that liability may be enforced against the dead’s estate and that the “heirs of the accused may be substituted for the deceased without requiring the appointment of an executor or administrator.”
“Wherefore, the name of Roberto S. Benedicto is hereby dropped as party-defendant in the above-entitled case pursuant to the Compromise Agreement approved by this Court,” the Sandiganbayan said in a resolution dated November 5, penned by Associate Justice Lorifel Pahimna with concurrences from Associate Justices Oscar Herrera Jr and Michael Frederick Musngi.
Benedicto was Marcos’ law school classmate and fraternity brother at the University of the Philippines. He put up his own sugar businesses and extended his empire to media, shipping, and insurance.
Among the recovered assets from Benedicto were:
- 3 properties from Piedras Petroleum Corporation (P70.016 million)
- 6,000-square-meter lot from Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) – Iligan City (P17.83 million)
- Two lots with a combined area of 5,161 sqm from BBC-Legazpi City (P22.19 million)
- 5,952 sqm lot from BBC-Naga City (P19.046 million)
- International Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13) including various assets (P3.074 billion)
- BBC-DWAN Radio (P1.362 million)
- 12,445 shares in Oceanic Wireless Network Incorporated (OWNI) (P13.63 million)
- 4.16 million shares in Radio Philippine Network Incorporated (RPN-9) (P33.29 million)