(Eagle News) — The Sandiganbayan has dismissed the P267 million forfeiture case filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) against alleged cronies of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and wife, Imelda for lack of evidence.
This is the third ill-gotten wealth case filed against the Marcoses by the PCGG that had been junked this year by the anti-graft court.
The ₱267.37 million civil case against the Marcoses, their business associates Fe Roa Gimenez and Ignacio Gimenez, and other cronies was dismissed by the Sandiganbayan’s fourth division, after granting the Gimenez couple’s demurrer to evidence. This is a motion to dismiss on the ground of insufficiency of evidence.
Fe Roa and Ignacio Gimenez are alleged cronies of the Marcoses, whom the PCGG accused of being conduits in the transfer of funds in foreign banks, and as dummies for several corporations.
-Defects noted in evidence submitted by PCGG –
The Sandiganbayan said that prosecution not only failed to submit original copies of documentary evidence, but that also whatever photocopied exhibits the PCGG had submitted were almost unreadable.
The court also noted in its decision that the “defects in the pieces of evidence that were presented by the Republic prevent it from successfully pursuing the present civil forfeiture case.”
It said that the prosecution also submitted “unauthenticated private documents” aside from photocopied documents.
The PCGG also failed “to produce at the witness stand the affiants/declarants of the affidavits and declarations that it submitted in order to prevent the contents of the said documents from being treated as hearsay.”
-Little or no probative value-
“Consequently, even if the defects of these exhibits were disregarded, little or no probative value can be accorded to them,” the Sandiganbayan said.
“Accordingly, the demurrer to evidence dated April 16, 2018 filed by defendant Ignacio B. Gimenez and the demurrer to evidence dated April 17, 2018 filed by defendant Fe Roa Gimenez are granted. Civil Case No. 0007 is hereby ordered dismissed for insufficiency of evidence,” noted the 37-page decision penned by Associate Justice Alex Quiroz on October 14 that was released on Friday.
In the forfeiture case or Civil Case Mo. 0007, the PCGG claimed that the Gimenez couple acquired assets with a total value of P93,798,129.65 although declaring a total net income of only P955,273.71 from 1981 to 1985.
The PCGG said that Fe Gimenez and Vilma Bautista siphoned millions of dollars of government fund into several accounts in foreign countries; and that they served as conduits of the Marcoses in the purchase of New York properties such as the Crown Building, the Lindenmere Estate, expensive works of art.
It claimed that the Gimenez couple also acted as dummies of the Marcoses in several corporations.
It said that they also obtained construction contracts via corporations organized by them (e.g., New City Builders Inc. [NCBI]) and thus undertook such projects as the construction of the University of Life Sports Complex and dining hall, and those for the National Manpower Corporation, Human Settlements Commission, GSIS, Maharlika Livelihood.
The PCGG also claimed that the defendants had illegally acquired wealth, including real property, motor vehicles, money placements, bank deposits, shares of stock in at least 25 corporations.