The Sandiganbayan 4th Division has affirmed its dismissal of a civil case involving the forfeiture of P267 million of alleged ill-gotten wealth of the family of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and spouses Fe and Ignacio Gimenez.
In a resolution promulgated on Jan. 23, 2020, the anti-graft court denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).
In Civil Case No. 0007, the Republic of the Philippines had sought the forfeiture of millions of pesos and dollars siphoned off to foreign countries, expensive works of art, as well as real estate properties under the name of the Gimenezes.
The forfeiture case was dismissed last year due to photocopied and defective evidence, which the court said was fatal to the case.
“In the present case, the court again emphasizes that the defects that were discovered n the Republic’s exhibits during their evaluation had the effect of greatly diminishing the said exhibits’ probative value,” the court said in the decision penned by Division Chairperson Alex Quiroz, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Reynaldo Cruz and Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega.
The court also said it was not convinced that the assets of the Gimenezes are manifestly disproportionate to their source of income.
It was also pointed out that prosecution witnesses have no personal knowledge of the contents of the documents they identified in court.
The court added that the Supreme Court decision on having a liberal approach on technical procedures was only with respect to the reception of evidence.
“Indeed, arguing that a liberal approach should likewise be made in the evaluation and appreciation of the Republic’s evidence would appear to go against the very basic tenet that courts of law are duty bound to act with impartiality in the performance of their task of rendering justice,” the court said.