Forfeiture case vs Marcoses dismissed

October 25, 2019

THE Sandiganbayan Fourth Division has dismissed another forfeiture case against the Marcoses and their cronies.

The anti-graft division junked the P267 million case against the couple Fe and Ignacio Gimenez.

The decision penned by division chairperson Alex Quiroz, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Reynaldo Cruz and Maria

Theresa Mendoza-Arcega, was promulgated on October 14, but made available to the media only on Friday.

According to the forfeiture case no. 0007, the court granted the demurrer to evidence filed by the Gimenezes.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed Civil Case No. 0007 in 1987.

The ruling said photocopied documents as well as defective pieces of evidence cost the government millions of pesos in attempting to prove that expensive works of art as well as real estate properties were really part of the Marcoses’ wealth merely entrusted to the Gimenezes.

“Considering that the Republic is essentially seeking to prove the contents of the photocopied exhibits that it submitted, this Court finds the violation of the best evidence rule in the case at bar to be fatal to the Republic’s cause,” the court said

The Sandiganbayan granted the motions to dismiss filed by the Gimenez couple in 2006.

But in 2016, the Supreme Court (SC) decided to return the forfeiture case to the Sandiganbayan.

According to the anti-graft court, the government argued that the documentary evidence should not be considered mere photocopies but rather “certified public records.”

“In several decisions, the High Court has already held that the fact that these documents were collected by the PCGG in the course of its investigation does not make them per se public records,” the court said.  

Based on records, the photocopies cited by the Sandiganbayan were tax documents, summary of stock transactions, Central Bank of the Philippines documents, Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth and local and foreign bank statements.  

The ruling took note of the government’s inability to authenticate private documents, with some affidavits declared as hearsay evidence.  

“It must be stated that some of the photocopied exhibits that were submitted by the Republic to this Court are so poor in quality that the letters and numbers stated therein are already unreadable thereby making it impossible for the Court to discern the points being sought to be established by the Republic,” the court said.

The same anti-graft division junked recently Civil Case No. 0008 which stemmed from the wealth of the Marcoses through the Tantoco family.