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Supreme Court Decision in 'People of the Philippines - versus- Lucio Lumayok' G.R. No. L-54016

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Sandiganbayan junks another Marcos ill-gotten wealth civil case

Date posted - 25/10/2019
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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 25) — A third ill-gotten wealth case against late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr., his first lady Imelda Marcos, and their cronies was junked by the Sandiganbayan this year.

The anti-graft court's 4th division dismissed the ₱267.37 million civil case against the Marcoses, their business associates Fe Roa Gimenez and Ignacio Gimenez, and other cronies due to insufficient evidence. Fe was accused of unlawful transfer of millions of government funds to several accounts in her name in foreign countries and being a conduit in purchasing art and properties for the Marcos family. Meanwhile, her husband Ignacio was allegedly a dummy of the Marcoses in corporations, such as Allied Banking Corporation. The forfeiture case was filed by Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) — the agency tasked to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses — in 1987.

The court granted the Gimenez couple demurrer to evidence — a motion to dismiss on the ground of insufficiency of evidence — filed by the Gimenezes, which were separately filed in 2016. The 37-page decision penned by Associate Justice Alex Quiroz on October 14 was released on Friday.

Sandiganbayan sided with the Gimenez spouses that the PCGG presented unauthenticated photocopied documents as evidence. It said this violates the best evidence rule under the Rules of Court.

"Considering that the Republic is essentially seeking to prove the contents of the photocopied exhibits that it submitted, this court finds the violation of the best evidence rule in the case at bar to be fatal to the Republic's cause," the court said.

This is the third loss of the PCGG this year. In August, the Sandiganbayan Second Division dismissed the ₱102-billion forfeiture case against the Marcoses in 1987, Roberto Benedicto, and other cronies due to insufficient evidence. In October, the court's second division junked the ₱1.052-billion civil case against the Marcoses in 1989, former Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. and some of his relatives due to insufficient evidence once again.

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