human rights in the Philippines

Judge fights back after Marcos case ruling described as ‘not honest’

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PCGG-OSG claims justice's decision on Marcos ill-gotten wealth "was not an honest and good faith attempt"

MANILA, Philippines – A Sandiganbayan justice cleared his name on allegation of irregularity and inappropriate conduct surrounding his dismissal of a graft case against former President Ferdinand Marcos and allies.

Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Samuel Martires defended himself after the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) remarked that his decision on Civil Case no. 0017 “was not an honest and good faith attempt to resolve the instant case in a principled way.”

Civil Case no. 0017 accuses Marcos, former First Lady now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, former Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin, former Armed Forces chief-of-staff Fabian C. Ver, and 18 others of amassing ill-gotten wealth from Binondo Central Bank in 1984.

Martires dismissed the case on January 19. His decision was concurred in by Associate Justices Napoleon E. Inoturan and Teresita V. Diaz-Baldos, Second Division chairperson.

Defendant PCGG-OSG filed on February 16 a motion for reconsideration questioning the decision. Among the aspects raised is that the ruling was issued on January 19 when there were still hearings scheduled on January 31 and February 1, and that Martires penned the ruling when he is now a member of the court’s Third Division.

The motion was drafted by PCGG Commissioner Gerard A. Mosquera and legal department director Bayani H. Jacinto.

Martires clarified that the January 31 and February 1 hearing dates were set tentatively, and that former Presiding Justice and then Second Division chairman Edilberto Sandoval had repeatedly explained to all parties that future hearing schedules are effectively mooted but if evidences are denied.

He also pointed out that the case was assigned to him two years ago, so his transfer to the Third Division did not affect the regularity of the ruling.

“I demand an explanation. This is a malicious accusation and an insult to the ponente. The only wealth I have is my reputation. It pains me so much that this accusation has been hurled to the court. This is contemptuous language,” Martires said. –

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