Former President Ferdinand Marcos (Bloomberg photo courtesy)

MANILA — The Sandiganbayan’s Second Division has rejected a civil case filed against the late President Ferdinand Marcos and several other individuals.

In a 45-page decision issued on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, the court ruled on Civil Case 0014.

Following the passing of the former president in 1989, he was substituted by his heirs. Defendants Leandro Enriquez and Erlinda Enriquez Panlilio substituted spouses Modesto Enriquez and Trinidad Diaz-Enriquez, while Rebecca Panlilio was substituted by her spouse and heirs. Similarly, Roman Cruz Jr. was substituted by his heirs.

The case alleged that Modesto Enriquez, Trinidad Diaz-Enriquez, Rebecca Panlilio, Erlinda Enriquez-Panlilio, Leandro Enriquez, Roman Cruz Jr., and Don Ferry, who was also a defendant, were close business associates of the late President Marcos and Imelda Marcos. It was claimed that they took advantage of their close relationship with Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, acting as their proxies, nominees, or agents to unlawfully appropriate commercial interests, control several corporations, and acquire properties, specifically those listed in Annex ‘A’ of the Amended Complaint.

However, the court found that the plaintiff “failed to provide evidence establishing that the subject properties were ‘ill-gotten,’ namely: (1) that the subject properties and assets listed in Annex ‘A’ of the Amended Complaint originated from the government, and (2) that they were acquired by the individual defendants through illegal means or by exploiting their close relationship with Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.”

During the trial, the individual defendants strongly asserted that they legitimately obtained ownership of the subject corporations and were not mere cronies or proxies of the Marcoses. The plaintiff failed to rebut these claims throughout the trial.

Consequently, the court concluded, “In the absence of sufficient evidence indicating that the subject properties were indeed ill-gotten wealth, the Court cannot simply order their return to the national treasury.”