Marcos ill-gotten wealth

Sandiganbayan junks one of ill-gotten wealth cases vs Marcos, others

Jairo Bolledo

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Sandiganbayan junks one of ill-gotten wealth cases vs Marcos, others

ANTI-GRAFT COURT. The Sandiganbayan in Quezon City, June 30, 2018.

Darren Langit/Rappler

(1st UPDATE) The anti-graft court dismisses the case after the petitioner fails 'to prove by preponderance of evidence the material allegations contained in the amended complaint'

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division dismissed a civil case against the late tyrant Ferdinand E. Marcos and others in relation to the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the dictator’s family.

In a 156-page decision, the anti-graft court dismissed the case stemmed from alleged reversion, reconveyance, and accounting against Marcos and other respondents due to the petitioner’s failure to prove the allegations.

“IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this case for reversion, reconveyance, and accounting against defendants Peter A. Sabido, Luis A. Yulo, Nicolas Dehesa, Ferdinand E. Marcos, Rafael Sison, and Don M. Ferry, is DISMISSED for failure of the plaintiff to prove by preponderance of evidence the material allegations contained in the amended complaint,” the decision reads.

“Accordingly, the sequestration of herein defendant corporation, Lianga Bay Logging Co., and Yulo King Ranch, is hereby declared LIFTED,” it added.

Associate Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega penned the decision, while Associate Justices Rafael Lagos and Maryann Corpus-Mañalac concurred.

Meanwhile, the respondents named in the decision are as follows:

  • Late dictator Marcos
  • Imelda Marcos
  • Peter Sabido
  • Roberto Benedicto
  • Luis Yulo
  • Nicolas Dehesa
  • Jose Tengco Jr.
  • Rafael Sison
  • Cesar Zalamea
  • Don Ferry
  • Defendant corporations: Liangga Bay Logging Co., Phil. Integrated Meat Corporation, YKR Corporation, and PIMECO Marketing Corporation

The case is one of the many charges filed against the Marcoses, which sought to recover the ill-gotten wealth they had acquired during the late dictator’s regime.

“This is a civil action against defendants Peter A. Sabido, Ferdinand E. Marcos, Imelda R. Marcos and the rest of the defendants in the above-entitled case to recover from them ill-gotten wealth consisting of funds and other property which they, in unlawful concert with one another, had acquired and accumulated in flagrant breach of trust and of their fiduciary obligations as public officers, with grave abuse of right and power, and in brazen violation of the Constitution and laws of the Republic of the Philippines,” the ruling reads.

The ruling

According to the anti-graft court, the evidence against Marcos and other respondents failed to prove the allegations made by the state. It added that the evidence also fell short in showing that the properties in question are dummy companies owned by the late tyrant and his family. 

“Particularly, no competent evidence was submitted to show that the former President had any hand in YKR, Lianga, and all other corporations listed in the amended complaint, or in the acquisition of defendant Yulo in his own name of his shares,” the ruling says.

The Sandiganbayan added that the state’s case against Marcos was anchored on the testimony of government witness and former head of Security Bank and Trust Co. Rolando Gapud, who said in his affidavit that the companies were “generally held” by Marcos. However, the anti-graft court noted that jurisprudence says “an affidavit is merely hearsay evidence when its affiant or maker did not take the witness stand.”

Meanwhile, in the case of Sabido and Yulo’s shares of stock, the court said there was no evidence presented that would prove that the stock belongs to the state. 

“Nor is there evidence that respondents took undue advantage of their connections or relationship with former President Marcos or his family, relatives and close associates, were able to acquire those shares of stock,” the Sandiganbayan added. 

Other dismissals

On November 3, 1990, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and Benedicto entered into an agreement, where both parties agreed over the conveyance, transfer, and cession of PACIFO in favor of the government. This was in exchange for Benedicto’s immunity. 

In a resolution dated October 2, 1992, the anti-graft court dropped Benedicto from the case. Later on, Zalamea raised that the claim against him had already been extinguished “in view of the full settlement of the claim of the plaintiff.” On November 2, 1995, the court also junked the case against him. 

Meanwhile, Tengco argued that the claim against him had also been extinguished because the cause of action against him was based on the Development Bank of the Philippines’ loan to PACIFO. His case was also dismissed. 

In 2010, the Sandiganbayan also lifted the sequestration order against PIMECO.The anti-graft court also granted the demurrer to evidence filed by YKR Corporation and at least six of ten heirs of the late Yulo.

This is among the latest wins of the Marcoses in the country’s anti-graft court. On February 1, the late tyrant’s family suffered a major loss in the Sandiganbayan after the court barred them from retaking their forfeited assets. –

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.