SUPREME COURT ACQUITS IMELDA ON 3 GROUNDS
Manila, Oct. 7, 1998 - The Supreme Court yesterday cited three grounds for acquitting Imelda Marcos and overturning a 1993 Sandiganbayan conviction.
1. There was insufficient evidence to prove that the contract (between the Light Railway Transit and the Philippine General Hospital Foundation) was manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government.
2. Imelda Marcos did not sign the lease contract as a public officer. She was chairman of the PGH Foundation, a non-government private entity.
3. There was violation by the Sandiganbayan of Marcos' right to due process.
Voting to acquit Imelda were Justices Fidel Purisima, who wrote the majority opinion, Josue Bellosillo, Jose Melo, Santiago Kapunan, Vicente Mendoza, Reynato Puno, Antonio Martinez and Leonardo Quisumbing. Dissenting were Chief Justice Andres Narvasa, justices Florenz Regalado, Hilario Davide, Artemio Panganiban and Flerida Ruth Romero.
The case stemmed from LRTA's agreement to a 25-year lease of a 7,340 square meter lot, part of the LRT station, to PGH Foundation, for P102,760 monthly. The foundation then subleased the property to Transnational Construction Corporation at P734,000 a month and used the proceeds from the sublease to build a multi-storey building to rehabilitate and modernize the Philippine General Hospital, a government hospital for indigents.
The government could no longer appeal the decision since under the rules of court, decisions of acquittals are final and executory.
Justice Secretary Serafin Cuevas told reporters the government cannot revive the case without violating the rule against double jeopardy.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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