By Czarina Ong Ki
The Sandiganbayan Second Division dismissed for “lack of evidence” the P102 B ill-gotten wealth forfeiture case filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG) against former President Ferdinand Marcos and eight of his cronies in alleged 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 R. Marcos, Rafael Sison, Placido Mapa Jr., Don Ferry, Jose Tengco Jr., Ramon Monzon, Generosa Olazo, Cynthia Africa, and Rodolfo Arambulo, the case against them is hereby dismissed,” the dispositive portion of the ruling written by Associate Justice Lorifel Pahimna read.
The PCGG filed the complaint for reconveyance, revision, accounting, restitution, and damages for ill-gotten wealth against the Marcoses and their cronies on July 31, 1987.
In its 67-page ruling, the anti-graft court said that the burden of proof in the civil forfeiture proceedings fell on the PCGG.
The question it sought is whether or not the PCGG was able to adduce sufficient evidence to prove that the properties sought to be recovered are in truth ill-gotten and that the defendants, by virtue of their position, close association or relation with President Marcos and his wife, accumulated wealth by illegal means.
Sadly for the PCGG, the court ruled that it “failed to illustrate how defendants acted as dummies of Imelda Marcos in acquiring ill-gotten wealth.”
“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 against the remaining defendants,” the decision read.
“It is settled that in civil cases, the party making allegations has the burden of proving them by a preponderance of evidence. In addition, the parties must rely on the strength of their own evidence, not upon the weakness of the defense offered by their opponent,” it added.
The decision was concurred by Division Chairperson Oscar Herrera Jr. and Associate Justice Michael Frederick Musngi.