Sandiganbayan: Enough evidence presented vs Yulo in wealth case

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    THE Sandiganbayan has thrown out motions for reconsideration filed by YKR (Yulo King Ranch) Corp. and six heirs of the late businessman Luis A. Yulo seeking reversal of its June 18, 2020 resolution that upheld the sufficiency of government evidence in Civil Case No. 0024, a 35-year-old ill-gotten wealth case.

    In a resolution promulgated last January 16, the special anti-graft court sustained the stand of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) that there was no violation of due process since the defendant’s demurrer to evidence was filed three year late after the government rested its case on April 18, 2017.

    The OSG-PCGG also succeeded in keeping into the record two key pieces of documentary evidence: the January 14, 1987 and August 1, 1987 sworn statements of banker Rolando Gapud Gapud, who admitted to the late former PCGG chairman and Senate president Jovito Salonga that he acted as financial executor of former President Ferdinand Marcos and had personal knowledge of the latter’s illicit transactions to conceal ill-gotten wealth.

    Associate Justice Maria Theresa V. Mendoza-Arcega penned the resolution, with Associate Justices Rafael R. Lagos and Maryann E. Corpus-Mañalac concurring.

    “After a careful reexamination of the case, the Court affirms its findings that the evidence presented by the plaintiff, both documentary and testimonial amply support the allegations in its Amended Complaint that would warrant the relief sought,” the Sandiganbayan declared.

    It also swept aside the defendants’ argument as “a mere rehash of the arguments already passed upon” therefore deserving scant consideration for lack of merit.

    With the denial of the demurrer to evidence, the defendants now have to present their own witnesses and documentary exhibits to rebut the allegations.

    Civil Case No. 0024 was filed in 1987 and amended in 1988, naming spouses former President Ferdinand Marcos and former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, businessmen Peter A. Sabido, Luis D. Yulo, Roberto Benedicto, and Nicolas Dehesa, and former Development Bank of the Philippines executives Jose R. Tengco Jr., Rafael Sison, Cesar Zalamea and Don Ferry.

    Named corporate defendants were Lianga Bay Logging, Philippine Integrated Meat Corporation, Yulo King Ranch (YKR) Corp, and Pimeco Marketing Corp.

    Government lawyers said defendant businessmen and firms obtained loans in millions of dollars from the DBP and the Government Service Insurance System from 1973 to 1982.

    Aside from seeking forfeiture of various corporate assets in favor of the government the PCGG also sought to collect damages totaling P50 billion and another P1 billion in legal expenses.