Ombudsman insists on Imelda Marcos' guilt in Swiss foundations case
The ombudsman's prosecution team said the Marcoses created secret foundations and bank accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein to allegedly funnel illegally amassed government funds during Martial Law. AP/Bullit Marquez, File
MANILA, Philippines — As it rested its case, the Office of the Ombudsman's prosecution team maintained that former first lady and incumbent Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos must be convicted for 10 counts of graft for allegedly maintaining financial interests in Swiss Foundations during her term as Batasan assemblywoman and Manila governor.
In a 28-page memorandum submitted last August 29 before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, the prosecution team enumerated the evidence admitted by the court, which they have presented in the course of the trial of the cases which ran for 17 years from January 2000 to March 2017.
Filed by the ombudsman in December 1991, the cases stemmed from Mrs. Marcos' alleged creation of several private foundations in Switzerland and holding of financial interests in various private enterprises from 1976 to 1986 when she was the Minister of Human Settlements and the concurrent Metro Manila governor and from 1978 to 1984 while she was a member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa.
READ: Cases vs Marcoses, cronies remain pending at Sandigan since late '80s
The prosecution said Mrs. Marcos violated Section 3 (h) of RA 3019, which prohibits public officials from having financial or pecuniary interests in any business, contract or transaction in which he or she has the official capacity to intervene.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government had earlier identified a total of $658 million deposits in the conjugal Swiss dollar accounts of Mrs. Marcos and her husband, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
The prosecution said the Marcos couple created secret foundations and bank accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein to allegedly funnel illegally amassed government funds during Martial Law.
Among the evidence offered by the prosecution were the testimonies of former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez, former Central Bank Governor Jaime Laya, former Philguarantee Chairman Cesar Virata, former Philguarantee President and Chief Executive Officer Victor Macalincag.
From January 2000 to July 2012, Chavez testified on several documents from Swiss banking institutions acquired by the OSG in the course of the case build-up against Mrs. Marcos.
Chavez passed away on September 11, 2013.
Laya's testimony centered on the 1983 investigation of the International Monetary Fund which found out that the Philippine government overstated its international reserves.
He also testified on the Marcos couple's alleged “kiting” operation or fraudulent issuance of guarantees with insufficient funds.
Meanwhile Virata and Macalincag's testimonies in November 2014 centered on the Marcos couple's “financial and pecuniary” interests in private companies Asian Reliablity Corp. Inc. (ARCI) and Dynetics, Inc.
The one of the ten graft cases against Mrs. Marcos involves her alleged illegal intervention in favor of ARCI for company to secure a $25 million loan from state-owned Philippine Export and Foreign Loan Guarantee Corp (Philguarantee).
READ: Martial law victims' group: Marcoses should return all ill-gotten wealth
Another graft case, meanwhile, involves Mrs. Marcos' alleged unlawful interests in ARCI and Dynetics as part owner together with businessman Vicente Chuidian.
Virata and Macalincag testified that President Marcos “directly intervened” to prevent Philguarantee from pursuing case against ARCI over its defaulted loans.
“From the foregoing discussion, the People certainly had successfully discharged its duty of proving the guilt of accused Imelda Romualdez Marcos beyond reasonable doubt. Hence, a verdict of conviction for the aforementioned crimes is sought against the accused,” the prosecution said.
In a minute resolution issued on March 14, 2016 the Fifth Division ruled to admit all the evidence offered by the prosecution.
Marcos' camp seeks extension
Meanwhile, in a motion filed before the Fifth Division, Mrs. Marcos' lawyer Robert Sison prayed to the court to extend the September 15 deadline in the submission of his client's memorandum.
Sison cited the “heavy pressure of legal work” for failing to meet the deadline, explaining that he is also attending to cases in Masbate province with “extremely weak internet connection, which prevents him from researching legal works and jurisprudence.”
“The records of these cases are so voluminous, no doubt. It is extremely a challenger for the undersigned to craft the memorandum for accused Marcos given the fact that he is a solo practitioner and employs no one to do his legal research work,” Sison said in his motion filed on September 15.
READ: Duterte: Marcoses willing to 'open everything', return 'a few gold bars'
Once the memorandum of both camps are submitted, Mrs. Marcos' 26-year-old graft cases are deemed submitted for resolution.