Court junks gov”t appeal against dismissal of Marcos Sr. ill-gotten wealth case

The Sandiganbayan has junked the appeal lodged by the Philippine government against the dismissal of the ill-gotten wealth case against former president Ferdinand Marcos, his wife Imelda and their associates, citing lack of merit.

In a six-page Resolution, the Sandiganbayan said the government’s motion for reconsideration must be denied since it has failed to present any fresh argument that would persuade the Court to reconsider the decision.

“It would be recalled that the Court in said [June 27, 2023] Decision exhaustively discussed the matters raised by the plaintiff in its Complaint and Expanded Complaint and there appears to be no need to belabor grounds stated in arriving at the questioned Decision.

“Nevertheless, this Court finds it necessary to stress that in a civil case, unless the plaintiff’s cause is established by preponderance of evidence, its complaint cannot prosper against the defendants,” the Sandiganbayan said.

“As plaintiff-movant (Philippine government) has not raised any argument to convince this Court that its ruling is erroneous or contrary to the law or evidence, the motion for reconsideration must be denied for lack of merit. Wherefore, premises considered, the Motion for Reconsideration (Re: Decision dated June 27, 2023) dated 18 July 2023, filed by plaintiff Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), is hereby denied,” the Sandiganbayan added.

Civil Case 0014 accuses Rebecco and Erlinda Panlilio, associates of the Marcos couple, of acting as dummies in the acquisition of several companies by securing financial assistance from state institutions on liberal terms for their interest.

In its June 27, 2023 decision, the Sandiganbayan said that the Revised Rules of Evidence that took effect in 2020 which deems duplicates of documents as admissible evidence cannot be applied in the Civil Case 0014, which was filed in 1987.

Likewise, the anti-graft court said that the testimony of prosecution witness and state-run Presidential Commission on Good Government Records Custodian Maria Lourdes Magno is hearsay because she has no personal knowledge of the veracity of the documents.

“With the foregoing considerations, it follows that the Best Evidence Rule [before 2019] applies in this case and, therefore, plaintiff’s sole witness Magno is not competent to testify as to the contents and existence of the said documentary evidence,” the Sandiganbayan said.

“Needless to state, the allegations contained in the motion are mere rehash of the issues already ruled, passed upon, and judiciously resolved by this Court,” the Sandiganbayan added. — BM, GMA Integrated News

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