Gov’t score in bid to recover Marcos wealth now 3-21; 17 forfeiture cases left to go

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The government has succeeded in forfeiting the ill-gotten wealth amassed by dictator Ferdinand Marcos in three civil cases, but this pales in comparison to 21 cases dismissed so far mostly due to procedural defects in the presentation of evidence.

In 2019 alone, the government scored one victory but lost three cases.

According to Sandiganbayan records, there are 17 forfeiture cases that would still be resolved over the next few years, after more than three decades of litigation.

VICTORIES

The only favorable development this year was the December 4 decision rendered by the 3rd Division in Civil Case No. 0009

The case concerned P2.7 billion worth of shares in Eastern Telecommunications Philippines, Inc. (ETPI) which were illegally acquired through Marcos’s dummies Jose Africa and Manuel Nieto.

Previously, the Sandiganbayan, acting on Civil Case No. 0141, forfeited in the government’s favor Swiss deposits worth at least US$658.18 million, the assets and properties of Arelma S.A. worth US$3.37 million, and the so-called “Malacañang Collection” of jewelry worth at least US$110,055.

In December 2015, the Sandiganbayan granted the government’s bid in Civil Case No. 0030 to recover vast tracts of land worth P511.12 million, two Cessna planes, and various assets in the name of crony Alfonso Lim’s estate and several lumber companies.

DEFEATS

The government lost more cases. In fact, this year alone, the court successively dismissed three civil cases: a P102-billion case involving Roberto Benedicto, a P1-billion case related to Bienvenido Tantoco, and a P267.37-million case related to Ignacio and Fe Roa Gimenez.

The decisions on Civil Cases Nos. 0034, 0008 and 0007 were dated August 5, September 25 and October 14.

This was on top of 18 other forfeiture cases had already been dismissed by the Sandiganbayan before this year.

Meanwhile, Civil Cases Nos. 0025 and 0031 were archived, leaving 17 pending cases.

A total of 43 civil cases were filed against the Marcos spouses and their cronies and dummies all in all. Some of these cases involved their children Ferdinand Jr. and Irene as defendants.

All of the cases mentioned above are civil in nature.

CRIMINAL CHARGES

Marcos avoided having to face criminal charges by dying in exile in Hawaii in 1989.

Meanwhile, his widow Imelda was convicted of graft in a November 9, 2018 decision and sentenced to 77 years in prison.

This was in connection with her constitutionally-prohibited involvement in the transactions of Swiss foundations totaling $200 million for the benefit of the Marcos family.

The 90-year old Imelda remains out on bail pending the finality of her conviction.

On the other hand, 19 other criminal cases for corruption against her were dismissed by the Sandiganbayan over the years. There is no more unresolved criminal case against Imelda. #

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