Sandiganbayan junks ill-gotten wealth case vs Marcoses

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The Sandiganbayan has dismissed a complaint filed 34 years ago by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) against late businessman Ricardo Silverio Sr. and Pablo Carlos Jr., former First Lady Imelda Marcos, and the late former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, alleging them for amassing ill-gotten wealth.

In a decision dated June 30 and recently made available online, the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division said “for failure of the plaintiff (PCGG) to prove its allegations by preponderance of evidence, the subject complaint filed against defendants Ricardo C. Silverio, estate of Pablo P. Carlos Jr., estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos, and defendant Imelda R. Marcos is hereby dismissed”.

The complaint, known as Civil Case No. 0011 was filed on July 22, 1987 for reconveyance, reversion, accounting, restitution, and damages in relation to the alleged ill-gotten wealth purportedly acquired by the Marcoses during their incumbency and the businessmen.

“An assiduous review of all the testimonial and documentary evidence offered by the plaintiff showed that it failed to satisfactorily prove the specific averments in the complaint,” the court said.

The PCGG claimed Silverio and Carlos gave the Marcoses improper payments in hundreds of thousands of US dollars in exchange for awarding them the contract to supply Kawasaki scrap loaders and Toyota rear dump trucks.

The two, PCGG added, received for three consecutive years special accommodations, privileges, and exemptions from the Central Bank in the form of increased dollar import quota allocation for the importation of Toyota vehicles for Delta Motors Inc., and air-conditioning and refrigerating equipment in excess of the limits prescribed.

Silverio, who died in 2016 at 87, founded Delta Motors Corporation in 1961 and acquired the exclusive right to assemble and distribute Toyota cars and trucks in the country.

The two were also purportedly allowed a more liberal mode of payment and was granted preferential status and treatment in the implementation of the government’s Progressive Car Manufacturing Program.

The PCGG claimed the two obtained multi-million peso emergency loans as additional capital infusion to Filipinas Bank, a commercial banking institution owned and controlled by Silverio.

The properties sought by the PCGG included properties in California, an apartment in Ecology Village in Makati City, and shares of stocks in a number of corporations.

Silverio and Carlos denied the allegations and claimed they have never been public officials and that there had not been any investigation with notice to the parties concerned prior to the filing of the case.

Carlos, who died in 1998, filed a counterclaim for damages amounting to P50million. The counterclaim was dismissed by the Sandiganbayan.

Among the PCGG’s evidence was a letter of gratitude supposedly sent by Silverio to the former president but the anti-graft court discounted its value as damning evidence.

“A close examination of the said letter would only show that defendant Silverio was reporting about the status of a project and expressing his gratitude to defendant Ferdinand Marcos. There was no concrete proof in the said letter that would show that defendant Ferdinand Marcos gave extraordinary grants or privileges to the unnamed company,” the court said.

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