SC orders re-opening of 23-year old raps vs Silverio

September 6, 2010 11:33 am 

Priam F. Nepomuceno

MANILA, Sept. 5 – The Supreme Court (SC), in a 17-page decision, has ordered the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to re-open a 23-year-old ill-gotten wealth case against Marcos crony and former Bulacan congressman Ricardo Silverio.

The SC Third Division ruling, penned by Associate Justice Martin Villarama, also allowed the PCGG to present additional evidence against Silverio.

It also held that the Sandiganbayan’s Second Division committed grave abuse of its discretion when it issued its June 9, 2003 resolution junking the PCGG plea to re-open the case it filed against Silverio for presentation of additional evidence.

The SC also said that the refusal of the Sandiganbayan would result in “miscarriage of justice” as it deprived the government the chance to fully prove its case against the former Marcos crony.

Aside from this, the Sandiganbayan flouted Executive Order No. 14, Series of 1986 issued by the late President Corazon C. Aquino providing that technical rules of procedure and evidence shall not be strictly applied to cases involving ill-gotten wealth.

“Public respondent seriously erred in denying the motion to reopen for presentation of additional evidence on the basis of the supposed ‘final and executory’ ruling which denied admission of exhibits…in the formal offer of evidence by the petitioner…Indeed, in the furtherance of justice, the court may grant the parties the opportunity to adduce additional evidence bearing upon the main issue in question. The remedy of reopening a case for presenting further proofs was meant to prevent a miscarriage of justice,” the SC said.

It added that the anti-graft court should have adopted a liberal stance in the matter of procedural technicalities in the case, considering the SC’s previous resolution which affirmed the PCGG’s finding of prima facie case against Silverio.

The SC noted that its order denying admission to petitioner’s documentary exhibits as well as the denial of the motion to reopen for presentation of additional evidence against Silverio “was merely interlocutory” and does not finally dispose of the case.

The PCGG filed in 1987 a civil case against Silverio and Pablo Carlos, Jr. (now substituted by his heirs), for allegedly using their close association with the Marcos to acquire ill-gotten wealth.

Silverio and Carlos were the owners of Delta Motors Philippines Inc., the local assembler of Toyota cars and trucks then.

Based on the complaint, Silverio and Carlos gave the Marcoses payments amounting to hundreds of thousands of US dollars in exchange for an award of Kawasaki scrap loaders and Toyota rear dump trucks.

It further said that the respondents granted exemptions by the Central Bank in the matter of importing vehicles and air conditioning and refrigeration equipment because of their close ties with the Marcoses.

Likewise, the PCGG claimed that Silverio committed to pay US 499,500 to someone in consideration of his arrangements to get the deal for 1,000 units of Toyota rear dump trucks and US$ 290,000 for 200 units of Kawasaki scoop loaders.

The PCGG also alleged that the respondents acted as dummies for the Marcoses, who actually owned and controlled Delta Motors Corp. and Filipinas Bank, who was also under Silverio’s name.

After presenting its witnesses, Godofredo de la Paz, bank officer III of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Ma. Lourdes Magno, PCGG librarian, the government rested its case.

But the Sandiganbayan rejected four out of the five documentary evidence submitted by the PCGG for being mere photocopies.

In September 2002, the PCGG moved for the reopening of the case following the discovery of original copies of the documentary evidence that were earlier rejected by the anti-graft court and a new set of evidence, including Silverio’s own testimony in the 1990 racketeering trial of Mrs. Marcos and Turkish-Saudi Arabian businessman Adnan Khashoggi in New York. (PNA) RMA/PFN

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