The Sandiganbayan on Thursday suspended its hearing on the ill-gotten wealth case filed against President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his family in 1987.
In resetting the trial to early next month, the anti-graft court’s Second Division granted the defendants’ motion in connection with a pending civil case.
The civil suit accuses the Panlilio couple Rebecco and Erlinda , reputedly cronies of the President’s parents, the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and former First Lady Imelda Marcos, of acting as dummies in acquiring ownership of several companies by securing financial assistance from state institutions on liberal terms “for their financial and pecuniary interests.”
These companies included the Ternate Development Corp., Monte Sol Development Corp., Olas del Mar Development Corp., Fantasia Filipina Resort, Inc., Sulo Dobbs, Inc., Philippine Village, Inc., Silahis International Hotel, Inc., and Hotel Properties, Inc.
The complaint also alleges that the Panlilio couple, as well as Modesto Enriquez, Trinidad Diaz-Enriquez, Leandro Enriquez, Guillermo Gastrock, Ernesto Abalos and Gregorio Castillo took advantage of their close ties with the Marcos couple to plot schemes and “in order to enrich themselves “at the expense of the Philippine government.”
“We asked the court for more time to look at our records,” lawyer Manuel Plaza, legal counsel for the Marcoses, told reporters following the day’s proceedings.
“We want to make sure that the witnesses and evidence we present to the court will be admissible. This has been a very long case, we really have to go back. The records are quite long,” he added.
The postponement, according to Plaza, shouldn’t be interpreted as a sign of their lack of readiness.
“We received the order of the court (allowing us to present evidence today) two weeks before the inauguration,” he said. “It is not that we’re not ready, but we have to be sure that what we would present in court would stand.”
The Sandiganbayan set the pre-marking of case-related evidence for August 4 and the pre-trial for August 5.
Prior to the deferment, the court gave the Marcoses a chance to present evidence in connection with Civil Case 0014.
In a June 2022 decision, the Sandiganbayan said allowing the Marcos family another chance to present defense is “in the higher interest of substantial justice, and, considering the nature of the case where defendants stand to lose their properties.”