Anti-graft court junks PHP200B civil suit against Marcoses

The Marcos family ascending the Malacañang Palace staircase, on the day of the former president’s 1969 inaugural <I>Photo: Wikimedia Commons</I>
The Marcos family ascending the Malacañang Palace staircase, on the day of the former president’s 1969 inaugural Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Well, here’s yet another win for the Marcos family.

The Philippines’ anti-graft court today dismissed a civil forfeiture case filed against late former President Ferdinand Marcos and his surviving family members due to lack of evidence, allowing the Marcoses to dodge paying back the government for a hefty PHP200 billion (US$ 39.4 million) in allegedly ill-gotten wealth pilfered from the national coffers during martial law rule.

Read: Philippine graft court hands family of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos another win

Sandiganbayan’s fourth division said that Civil Suit No. 0002 — filed against the late president, his wife Imelda, his associate Constante Rubio, and his children, Senator Imee Marcos, Irene Marcos-Araneta, and Senator Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos, Jr. — was dismissed “for failure of the plaintiff to prove its allegations by preponderance of evidence.”

The 58-page decision, penned by Division Chairperson Alex Quiroz, reads: “The bulk of the documentary evidence offered by the plaintiff are mere photocopies, most of which are barely readable.”

“The court acknowledges the atrocities committed during Martial Law under the Marcos regime and the ‘plunder’ committed on the country’s resources,” it adds. “However, absent sufficient evidence that may lead to the conclusion that the subject properties were indeed ill-gotten by the Marcoses, the court cannot simply order the return of the same to the national treasury.”

Associate Justices Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega and Maryann Corpus-Manalac concurred with the ruling.

The case stemmed from a 1987 complaint by the the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), an agency created by then-President Corazon Aquino to recover the ill-gotten wealth allegedly amassed by the Marcoses during their 20-year martial law rule. The suit was filed by the Office of the Solicitor General that same year.

This is the fifth time in 2019 that the Marcoses and their cronies have won a decades-old, ill-gotten wealth case lodged by the government against them, with the Sandiganbayan dismissing a PHP102 billion (US$2 billion) case against them in August, another case being dismissed against the heirs of Marcos crony Luis Yulo in September, and the failed bid to recover millions of dollars from the Marcoses in two cases in October.

To this day, the Marcos family maintains that they have not stolen from the national coffers, with Imee Marcos drawing ire from netizens last year when she said people should “move on” from martial law.

Correction: a previous version of this story identified Imee Marcos as Aimee, it’s been corrected and updated.

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