Gov't claim on Lucio Tan assets junked with finality by Sandiganbayan

Posted at 09/26/12 6:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division junked with finality the government's claim on businessman Lucio Tan's 60% holdings in his various companies.

The Sandiganbayan issued a 70-page resolution affirming its June 11, 2012 ruling that dismissed the government's claim on Tan's assets. 

However, the court also dismissed counterclaims filed by Tan, his co-defendants and companies against the government, seeking P900 million in damages and compensation for legal expenses.
A separate counterclaim by the heirs of the late former Central Bank Governor Gregorio Licaros for P205 million was also denied.

The court said that the defendants failed to prove they suffered losses because of the government lawsuit, which lasted over 25 years.

"Defendants failed to introduce evidence to prove that the act of the plaintiff (Republic of the Philippines) in filing the instant case was a wrongful act and accompanied by bad faith, or that plaintiff acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent manner," the court said.

Associate Justice Roland B. Jurado, division chairman, penned the ruling with Associate Justices Teresita V. Diaz-Baldos and Alex L. Quiroz concurring.

In its June 11 resolution, the Sandiganbayan said the government lawyers presented inadequate evidence against Tan and his co-defendants.

The government was seeking the forfeiture of 60 percent blocks of Fortune Tobacco Corp., Himmel Industries Inc., Foremost Farms Inc., Asia Brewery Inc., Grandspan Development Corp, Silangan Holdings Inc. and Dominium Realty and Construction Corp. It also sought the award of P51 billion in various damages and fees.

As it dismissed the government's case, the Sandiganbayan said there is no proof that any of Tan's companies benefited from the any alleged favors given by the Marcos government. It also noted there was no evidence any of the favors were implemented.