MANILA, Philippines – Former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos is asking the anti-graft court to conduct a “full trial” on the ownership of a confiscated jewelry collection so she can prove it is hers.
Last January 30, the Sandiganbayan First Division issued a resolution declaring the Malacañang Jewelry Collection to be ill-gotten along with other Marcos family wealth.
The collection has been in government possession since the family of dictator President Ferdinand Marcos fled the country amid a people power revolt in February 1986. In 1991, when the Presidential Commission on Good Government filed the petition for forfeiture, it valued the collection between $110,055 and $153,089.
In a 19-page reply to the court resolution, however, Imelda Marcos and her daughter Irene Marcos-Araneta said forfeiting the collection under Republic Act 1379 “would be tantamount to depriving the family of their property without due process of law.”
However, a resolution citing RA 1379 – An Act Declaring Forfeiture in Favor of the State Any Property Found to have been Unlawfully Acquired by Any Public Officer or Employee – is defective, the Marcoses said.
According to Marcos’ lawyer, Maria Frances Marfil, the law merely states that properties of a public official are presumed to be ill-gotten if they are manifestly disproportionate with his salaries.
That presumption, however, is only “prima facie,” and the government official has to be given an opportunity to prove he legitimately owns it.
“In the case at bar, there is a need for a full trial to fully determine whether or not the above prima facie presumption can be rebutted by the evidence to be presented by the respondents,” the Marcoses said in their reply.
“(T)here has been no trial or hearing in the present case to fully give the respondents their day in court,” the defense said. “The [Marcoses] were shamefully never given an opportunity to show that the questioned properties may have been lawfully acquired through other means or acquired prior to former President Marcos’ tenure as president.” – Rappler.com