The Duterte administration does not interfere with the judiciary with regard to the decision of the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the forfeiture of more than P267 million in ill-gotten wealth against the Marcos family, the Palace said Saturday.
READ: Sandiganbayan throws out two high-profile cases
In a statement, Malacanang spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Executive branch will let its co-equal branch, the Judiciary, to exercise its independence.
“The rule of law must always prevail in courts, regardless of who are the parties. Their decision must be accorded respect and obedience,” said Panelo, who is also the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel.
Panelo issued the statement after the Sandiganbayan junked the third civil case against former President Ferdinand Marcos, his wife Imelda, and spouses Fe and Ignacio Gimenez.
The Sandiganbayan’s 4th Division has dismissed Civil Case No. 0007 involving the forfeiture of more than P267 million in ill-gotten wealth the Gimenez couple supposedly kept for the Marcoses.
READ: Sandiganbayan drops P102-billion forfeiture raps vs. Marcos, allies
In a decision promulgated on October 14, the anti-graft court granted the demurrer to evidence filed by the Gimenezes for insufficiency of evidence.
The anti-graft court ruled there were “defects” in the pieces of evidence against the respondents, including photocopies of papers that were practically unreadable.
”It is apparent that the defects in the pieces of evidence that were presented by the Republic prevent it from successfully pursuing the present civil forfeiture case,” the Sandiganbayan said.
In 2006, the anti-graft court had granted the motions to dismiss filed by the Gimenez couple, but in 2016, the Supreme Court remanded the case back to the Sandiganbayan.
In the Sandiganbayan decision last week, it was noted that the government argued the documentary evidence they submitted should not be considered mere photocopies but rather certified public records.
The ruling also noted that the government failed to authenticate private documents and that some of the affidavits were hearsay evidence.