By Edson C. Tandoc Jr
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Posted date: March 24, 2010
MANILA, Philippines—Businessman Mariano Tanenglian has appealed the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan's ruling denying his offer to testify against his own brother, magnate Lucio Tan, in the government's 22-year-old forfeiture case.
In a motion for reconsideration, Tanenglian asked the Sandiganbayan's Fifth Division to reconsider and set aside its ruling last month that denied all his three motions filed last year asking to be allowed to tell all he knew against his brother.
The government wants to prove that Tan’s assets form part of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses so it could seize these in favor of the state. Tanenglian is also a defendant in a civil case but after a falling out with his brother he offered to be a government witness in exchange for immunity.
Last month, the court denied Tanenglian's September 2009 manifestation and motion which asked the court to direct the Presidential Commission on Good Government to resolve his offer to be a government witness, to reopen the trial so he could testify and to order the PCGG and the Office of the Solicitor General to give him copies of their recommendation and resolution that purportedly junked his offer to testify.
The court ruled that directing the PCGG to act on Tanenglian’s offer and to provide him copies of documents against him were beyond its jurisdiction and that it was "absurd" for Tanenglian to ask for the reopening of trial considering that he was one of the defendants.
The court also faulted the prosecution for failing to present all of its witnesses despite being given sufficient time to do so.
But in his appeal, Tanenglian said his motion only asked the court to direct the PCGG to resolve his offer, not necessarily to resolve it in his favor.
Tanenglian said: "It is respectfully submitted therefore that the motion to direct resolution does not seek impingement on any of the exclusive powers of the PCGG."
He said that it also comes with the court's power to direct the PCGG to resolve his offer, to direct the PCGG and the OSG to furnish him with copies of their resolutions about his offer.
Tanenglian also argued that the conditions the court cited in faulting the prosecution for wasting several chances to present evidence "is no longer existing" following his readiness and willingness to cooperate with the government.
Last month, the court also denied the omnibus motion of private lawyer Catalino Generillo that sought the reopening of the trial so Tanenglian could testify.
The court said Generillo, who had helped the prosecution until the OSG kicked him out of the case more than a year ago, was no longer a “real party in interest” in the case.
Generillo also appealed the court’s ruling.