Marcos Fact Checks

FACT CHECK: Sandiganbayan, not Supreme Court, junked Marcos ill-gotten wealth case

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FACT CHECK: Sandiganbayan, not Supreme Court, junked Marcos ill-gotten wealth case
It was the anti-graft court’s Second Division, not the Supreme Court’s, that junked the case

Claim: The Supreme Court’s Second Division recently junked an ill-gotten wealth case against former president Ferdinand E. Marcos, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, and their alleged associates.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim can be found in a video uploaded by the YouTube channel “Showbiz Fanaticz” last June 28. The video’s title states the claim at the outset: “BREAKING: Isa sa HULING KASO ng PAMILYA MARCOS, TULUYAN ng IBINASURA ng SUPREME COURT | PCGG, PAHIYA!” 

(BREAKING: One of the last cases of the Marcos Family, finally junked by Supreme Court | PCGG, shamed!)

As of writing, the video already had 17,000 views and 243 comments.

At several points during the video (0:34, 1:00, 1:47, 2:16, 4:43, 5:32, and 6:04), the narrator said it was the “Supreme Court” or “Korte Suprema” that junked the case. However, at 0:12, the video stated it was the Sandiganbayan that did so. Starting at the 2:30 mark, the YouTube video also referred to a June 28 CNN Philippines report about the case and showed a screenshot of the article.

Sandiganbayan, not Supreme Court: It was the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan that junked the ill-gotten wealth case, not the Supreme Court’s. No mention of the High Tribunal was made anywhere in the CNN Philippines report referenced in the YouTube video.

The Sandiganbayan is the country’s anti-graft court, with five divisions. Both the 1973 and 1987 Philippine Constitutions contain provisions on the creation of the special anti-graft court.

The 1973 Philippine Constitution (Section 5, Article XIII) states: “The Batasang Pambansa shall create a special court, to be known as Sandiganbayan, which shall have jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases involving graft and corrupt practices and such other offenses committed by public officers and employees, including those in government-owned or controlled corporations, in relation to their office as may be determined by law.”

Republic Act 8249 further defined the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Previously, the anti-graft court’s jurisdiction was determined based on the penalty imposable on the offense charged. With the amendment, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction regardless of the penalty, so long as the offense was committed by a public officer.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is the country’s highest court, with three divisions. The High Tribunal has original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus, as stated in Article VIII, Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution. 

The High Tribunal is also empowered to review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm final judgements and orders of lower courts in:

  1. All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.
  2. All cases involving the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, or toll, or any penalty imposed in relation thereto.
  3. All cases in which the jurisdiction of any lower court is in issue.
  4. All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher.
  5. All cases in which only an error or question of law is involved.

Marcos case: Citing lack of evidence, the Sandiganbayan dismissed Civil Case No. 0014 on June 27. The case sought the forfeiture and recovery of assets and properties owned by the defendants, who were alleged dummies or associates of the Marcos couple.

This is the latest victory of the Marcoses, coming after the dismissal of another case which stemmed from alleged reversion, reconveyance, and accounting against Marcos and other respondents.

Back in February, however, the Sandiganbayan barred them from retaking their forfeited assets.

“Showbiz Fanaticz” YouTube channel: Rappler has fact-checked claims from “Showbiz Fanaticz” several times before, including a recycled claim that Senator Franklin Drilon fell asleep during a 2020 CNN Philippines interview. (READ: FACT CHECK: Drilon wasn’t asleep in 2020 CNN Philippines interview) – Percival Bueser/

Percival Bueser is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

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