Supreme Court junks PCGG’s P51-B claim vs Marcoses

The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday dismissed the petition of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to collect P51 billion in damages against the estate of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and his “cronies.”

The court’s First Division affirmed the decision of the Sandiganbayan on August 5, 2010 dismissing the complaint for reconveyance, reversion, restitution and damages filed by the PCGG for lack of evidence.

Court junks PCGG’s P51-B claim vs Marcoses

The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday dismissed the petition of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to collect P51 billion in damages against the estate of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and his “cronies.” The court’s First Division affirmed the decision of the Sandiganbayan on

The complaint was filed in connection with the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the late strongman which were allegedly accumulated through behest loans.

The SC decision was penned by Associate Justice Noel Tijam. Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo de Castro and Mariano del Castillo concurred.

The court gave credence to the findings of the anti-graft court that the PCGG failed to present documentary evidence and testimonies from witnesses to prove its allegations in the complaint.

“Juxtaposing the specific allegations in the complaint with the Republic’s documentary and testimonial evidence and as against the respondents’ documentary and testimonial evidence… the Court agrees with the Sandiganbayan that the weight of evidence fails to preponderate in the Republic’s favor,” the high tribunal said.

The SC stressed that the PCGG failed to prove that it exerted efforts to produce the original copies of documentary evidences.

“When the Sandiganbayan inquired as to whether the Republic will present the original or certified true copy of its documentary exhibits, the Republic answered that it will do so if necessary, as the originals are kept in the Central Bank vault. Despite knowledge of the existence and whereabouts of the documents’ originals, the Republic failed to present the same and contented itself with the presentation of mere photocopies,” it added.

The case stemmed from the PCGG’s complaint 31 years ago alleging that the Marcoses and their so-called “cronies” engaged in “schemes, devices or stratagems” to acquire ill-gotten assets.

Named respondents were former First Lady Imelda Marcos, representative of the Marcos estate, former construction magnate Rodolfo Cuenca, his son Roberto Cuenca, former Philippine National Bank president Panfilo O. Domingo, former Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin, former Development Bank of the Philippines officer Don Ferry, and 11 others.

In its complaint, the PCGG said Cuenca and the Marcoses connived to create the Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP), the predecessor of the Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC), in order to obtain ill-gotten wealth.

It alleged that the CDCP obtained public works contracts amounting to billions of pesos from the Department of Public Works, which later became the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and from the National Irrigation Administration, such as the construction of sugar centrals, the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (PASAR), the Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Corporation (PHILPHOS), and the Light Railway Transit Project (LRT), among others, under terms and conditions “manifestly disadvantageous to the government.”

It also alleged that CDCP secured loans and financial assistance from government financial institutions without sufficient collateral, contrary to banking laws and sound banking practices.

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