Marcoses win again

Imelda Marcos

ANOTHER civil case filed against the Marcos family was dismissed for insufficient evidence.

The court dismissed the forfeiture case against the Marcos family and their  spouses Fe and Ignacio Gimenez  involving some P267.37 million alleged ill-gotten wealth.

In a 37-page resolution penned by Division chair Alex Quiroz, the Fourth Division ruled that the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) presented defective pieces of evidence that failed to prove the guilt of the accused.

For this year, this is the third time that Sandiganbayan dismissed a forfeiture case against the Marcoses. The first forfeiture complaint was in connection with the alleged P102-billion ill-gotten wealth while the second case involved an estimated P1.052 billion.

The anti-graft court did not accept the mere photocopied documents, unauthenticated private documents and cited the failure to produce at the witness stand the declarants of the affidavits, and insufficient testimonial evidence for the dismissal of Civil Case No. 0007.

“No explanation was also proffered by the latter as to why the original copies of these exhibits were not presented,” the Sandiganbayan said.

“Considering the defects present in almost all of the pieces of evidence that were submitted by the Republic, this Court finds that the Republic has failed to discharge its burden and so rules that the respective demurrers of the Spouses Gimenez should be granted,” the Sandiganbayan added.

The court also reminded PCGG and OSG of the best evidence rule as provided under Rule 130, Section 3 of the Rules of Court and stressed by the Supreme Court (SC) in several cases. The rule requires that the original document be produced whenever its contents are the subject of inquiry, except in certain limited cases.

PCGG and OSG filed the case before the Sandiganbayan on July 21, 1987. The court already dismissed the case in 2006, but the SC ordered the case reopened in 2016.

In the complaint, the Gimenez couple was accused of being close business associates of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and wife Imelda Marcos. The spouses were also accused of colluding with the Marcoses “in order to unlawfully acquire, accumulate and misappropriate public funds through theft, extortion, blackmail, bribery, embezzlement and other acts of corruption.”

The complaint said that Fe allegedly acted as a conduit of the Marcoses in purchasing expensive works of art as well as properties located in New York, USA” while Ignacio “acted as a dummy of the Marcoses in certain corporations such as Allied Banking Corporation,” according to the complaint.