Ferdinand E. Marcos

Sandiganbayan dismisses ill-gotten wealth cases vs ex-energy chief Velasco, Emilio Yap


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Sandiganbayan dismisses ill-gotten wealth cases vs ex-energy chief Velasco, Emilio Yap

ANTI-GRAFT. File photo of Sandiganbayan in Quezon City taken on June 30, 2018.


MANILA, Philippines – Former energy minister Geronimo Velasco, Manila Bulletin owner Emilio T. Yap, and former Jai Alai Corporation director  Olympio Bermudez are no longer defendants in a decades-old ill-gotten wealth case against the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.

In a resolution promulgated on February 23, the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division granted separate demurrers to evidence filed by the heirs of Velasco, the joint administrators of the estate of Yap, and Bermudez.

Velasco, Yap, and Bermudez were accused of acting as “dummies, nominees, agents, incorporators, directors, board members and/or stockholders” of corporations beneficially held or controlled by former president Marcos, his wife Imelda Marcos, and the latter’s brother, former Tacloban City mayor Alfredo Romualdez.

The case involves the Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Company, Incorporated (Baseco), the Philippine Jai Alai and Amusement Corporation, and the Manila International Ports Terminal, Incorporated.

In granting the demurrers to evidence and dismissing the cases against Velasco, Yap, and Bermudez, the Sandiganbayan said that the evidence presented by the government was not enough to establish the allegations.

“After a circumspect evaluation of the evidence on record and the demurrers to evidence filed by defendants Yap, Bermudez, and Velasco, the Court is constrained to rule that the plaintiff Republic failed to prove the allegations in the Amended Complaint by preponderance of evidence as against them,” the anti-graft court ruled.

“None of these exhibits prove the actual participation of defendants Bermudez, Velasco, and Yap in the alleged acquisition of defendant Romualdez of a majority share in Baseco, MIPTI, PJAC, and PDC (Philippine Dockyard Corporation),” the Sandiganbayan also said.

On the prosecution’s witnesses – Maria Lourdes Magno, head of the PCGG’s Library and Records Division; and Antonio Rolando Eduarte, administrative officer of the Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Company (Baseco) – the court said that their testimonies as record custodians for their respective offices were not enough to establish the defendants’ alleged involvement in enabling the Marcoses and Romualdez to acquire and conceal ill gotten wealth.

The government’s case was also dealt a blow with the court’s denial of admission to the records of the bulk of its documentary evidence for being mere photocopies.

“Witness Magno merely stated that photocopies were turned over to her by her predecessors without even accounting for the non-production of the original documents,” the Sandiganbayan said. – Rappler.com

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