BBM to adopt co-accused’s evidence in ill-gotten wealth trial by Sandigan

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Friday sought the adoption of evidence presented by his co-accused in the ill-gotten wealth case still pending before the Sandiganbayan.

During the day’s pre-trial of the case, Marcos’ legal counsel, lawyer Manuel Plaza, informed the anti-graft court’s Second Division that his client intends to adopt the evidence presented by the heirs of Rebecco and Erlinda Panlilio and Modesto Enriquez.

Civil Case 0014 accuses the Panlilio couple—reputedly cronies associates of Marcos’ parents, the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and former First Lady Imelda Marcos— of acting as dummies in acquiring 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 charges also claimed that the Panlilio couple — as well as Enriquez and several others — took advantage of their close ties with the Marcoses to come up schemes and strategies “in order to enrich themselves at the expense of” the Philippine government.

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“I don’t see any problem with that,” Sandiganbayan Second Division chair Oscar Herrera said, reacting to Plaza’s proposition. Plaza told the court that he would need to secure a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) with his client to enable them to adopt the evidence of the Panlilios and Enriquez.

“The entry of appearance is different from SPA, your Honors,” Plaza explained.

Government prosecutors from the Office of the Solicitor General and the Presidential Commission on Good Government said such adoption of evidence on the part of Marcos should be put in a proper court motion or pleading.

Herrera agreed and then set the continuation of the pre-trial on Wednesday next week, August 10.

The Sandiganbayan, in a June 22 ruling, gave Marcos another chance to present his evidence to defend himself in connection with Civil Case 0014, saying such move “is in the higher interest of substantial justice, and, considering the nature of the case where defendants stand to lose their properties.” The presentation was set for July 7.

On July 7, the Sandiganbayan granted Marcos’ camp’s motion to defer the proceedings to August 5 since, according to Plaza back then, they were given only a short period to prepare.

“We received the order of the court (allowing us to present evidence today) two weeks before the inauguration.

Considering the short period, we had less than weeks to prepare for this hearing. It is not that we’re not ready, but we have to be sure that what we would present in the court would stand,” Plaza said.

Marcos was inaugurated as the 17th Philippine president on June 30 following his landslide victory in the May 2022 elections.

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