PCGG seeks Sandiganbayan ruling on 14-year-old pleading

Posted at 11/25/10 12:12 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Presidential Commission on Government (PCGG) on Wednesday asked the Sandiganbayan First Division to render a ruling on its motion for summary judgment filed on March 20, 1996, seeking award to the state of a disputed 18.4-hectare prime property in located in Pasig City.

The PCGG is also seeking dismissal of adverse claims by other parties. 

In its 7-page 5th urgent motion to resolve, the PCGG noted that the Sandiganbayan itself declared the motion “submitted for resolution” in an order issued on October 26, 1998 but after more than a decade, the ruling has yet to come out.

“[To] this date, the motion for summary judgment remains unresolved. In the meantime, several incidents have emanated, among which are the motions for intervention filed by other parties that unduly delay the proceeding in the case,” government lawyers said.

They said the PCGG had filed 4 previous motions to resolve but to no avail. The motions were dated August 10, 2001; July 11, 2003; February 1, 2005; and July 31, 2009. 

In 2008, a private appraiser commissioned by the PCGG assessed the value of the disputed property at between P15 billion to P18 billion. 

The subject lot is presently leased to a number of businesses, including the high-end dining-shopping complex Metrowalk, and is bordered on three sides by the Ortigas, Meralco, and Julia Vargas Avenues.

Also subject of the pending case is the IRC Building and the lot it is standing on located along EDSA. The area houses PCGG offices. 

Lawyers from the Office of the Solicitor General argued that the remaining claims of Ortigas and Company Limited Partnerships (OCLP) and businessman Ricardo C. Silverio should be dismissed based on the admissions of former Marcos associates Jose Yao Campos and Rolando Gapud.

Gapud, in a sworn statement, narrated how former President Ferdinand Marcos used public funds for his own benefit.

In his own affidavit, Campos admitted that he fronted for the late strongman in several business ventures including the acquisition of the disputed Pasig property and the Independent Realty Corp. (IRC) Building. 

He was also the one who surrendered disputed properties to the government in exchange for immunity from civil and criminal liabilities.

Last August, Blemp Commercial Philippines Inc., a firm allegedly identified with Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, also filed a request for intervention at the Sandiganbayan to stake its claim over the property.

However, Ortigas and Co. said Blemp has no legal interest over the property because the basis of its claim was a title that has been nullified 22 years ago aside. Blemp was also only created on February 18, 2009, based on its certificate of incorporation.

OSG-PCGG lawyers said the resolution of the ownership dispute would end the emergence of new claimants and conclude the decade-old cases.

“Moreover, in view of the importance of the case, involving as it does a vast tract of land in the prime area of Pasig City, the resolution of the motion for summary judgment would be a tremendous boost to the government’s recovery efforts of the ill-gotten wealth amassed during the Marcos regime,” they added.