Sandigan clears Marcos couple

Imelda Marcos

AFTER 32 years, the forfeiture case against the late President Ferdinand Marcos and wife former Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos was dismissed by the Sandiganbayan for insufficiency of evidence.

In a 67-page decision penned by Associate Justice Lorifel Pahimna the Second Division said the case was junked due to missing originals of key documentary evidence and failure to get witnesses to authenticate their affidavits before the court.

The anti-graft court ruled that the Republic of the Philippines failed to prove its allegations that officials of the Development Bank of the Philippines, acting on directions from the Marcoses, extended loan accommodations to various shipping companies for their unjust enrichment.

“Plaintiff miserably failed to adduce evidence to hold defendants Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos liable. It saddens the Court that it took more than 30 years before this case is submitted for decision and yet, the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence to sustain any of the causes of action,” the ruling read.

Based on the complaint filed on July 31, 1987, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) accused  businessman Roberto  Benedicto of taking advantage of his influence and connection with the Marcos couple to obtain loans and guarantees in the hundreds of millions of pesos for his companies Molave Bulk Carriers, Inc, Aklan Bulk Carriers, Inc., Fuga Bulk Carriers, Inc., Coron Bulk Carriers, Inc., and Ecija Bulk Carriers, Inc. which handled freight contracts of sugar, fertilizers and other import cargoes.

The anti-graft court however pointed out the PCGG, or the government agency in charge of recovering the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth, failed to provide evidence on specific instances where the late President Marcos and Mrs. Marcos were accused of being guilty of having participated in extending loan accommodation to Aklan Bulk Carriers, Inc., Fuga Bulk Carriers, Inc., Coron Bulk Carriers, Inc., and Ecija Bulk Carriers, Inc.; appropriated revenues derived from the operations of RPN-9, IBC-13 and BBC-2 for their own benefit and unjust enrichment and income; allowed their 11 other co-accused to hold and launder purloined funds for and in their behalf prior to remittance and credit to their overseas or foreign accounts; and participated in the establishment of the California Overseas Bank. It added that the PCGG also allegedly failed to provide evidence of how the other defendants acted as dummies of the former First Lady in acquiring ill-gotten wealth.

“Wherefore, premises considered, for failure of the plaintiff to prove by preponderance of evidence any of the causes of action against defendants Ferdinand E. Marcos, Imelda Marcos, Rafael Sison, Placido Mapa, Jr., Don M. Ferry, Jose R. Tengco, Jr., Ramon Monzon, Generosa C. Olazo, Cynthia Cheong, Ma. Luisa E. Nograles, Leopoldo Vergara, Jose L. Africa and Rodolfo Arambulo, the case against them is hereby dismissed,” said the Sandiganbayan.

With Ryan Ponce Pacpaco