Sandiganbayan awaits Marcos evidence in P51-B wealth case

MANILA, Philippines – Late President Ferdinand Marcos’ widow and heirs have only 8 days left to present evidence to the Sandganbayan Fifth Division in connection with a P51-billion lawsuit filed by the government 23 years ago.

In a November 17 order, the anti-graft court declared that former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos and the estate of her husband have only until December 2 to submit documents or testimonies to counter evidence presented by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) in Civil Case No. 0005.

The PCGG is seeking forfeiture in favor of the state of a 60% stake in various companies owned by businessman Lucio Tan. The companies include Fortune Tobacco Corp., Asia Brewery Inc., Allied Banking Corp., Foremost Farms, Himmel Industries Inc., Grandspan Development Corp., Silangan Holdings Inc., Dominium Realty and Construction Corp. and Shareholdings Inc.

The Marcos family is also claiming the same assets, alleging that the former President was the real owner of the stakes and Tan was only his nominee.

The court, however, noted that neither the former first lady nor her 3 children have filed any pleading in connection with the submission of government evidence.

The December 2 deadline was an extension of an earlier deadline. The anti-graft court, during a hearing last October 27, set the presentation of evidence for the Marcoses and defendant Mariano Tanenglian on November 15, 18, 23 and 25.

In his counter-manifestation dated November 2 that was filed through lawyers Estelito Mendoza and Orlando Santiago, Tan had asked the Sandiganbayan to declare the Marcoses and Tanenglian in default, unless they are able to complete their presentation of evidence by November 25.

Tanenglian, an estranged brother of Tan, has a pending motion seeking the lifting of the deadline in his case. He is hoping that the PCGG and the Aquino administration would act favorably on his offer to testify for the government in exchange for immunity.

The PCGG and then-Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera previously rejected Tanenglian’s offer, noting that it is more than 2 decades late, and was only made after Tanenglian’s reported rift with his brother.

Devanadera also noted that Tanenglian held high positions in Tan’s companies and was named as one of the principal defendants in the case because of his alleged active collaboration with the Marcos couple during their heydays.

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