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Sandiganbayan affirms ruling on Batangas beachfront property

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By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has junked the motion for partial reconsideration filed by lawyer Ramon Quisumbing, trustee of Doy Realty Development Corporation (DRDC), and affirmed its ruling on the beachfront property in Mabini, Batangas purchased by Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, brother of former first lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos.

Sandiganbayan (MANILA BULLETIN)

Sandiganbayan (MANILA BULLETIN)

Earlier, the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division declared the government as the “legal owner” of the beachfront property, which was part of a civil case involving the ill-gotten wealth of former President Ferdinand Marcos, his wife Imelda, her brother Romualdez, and several of their dummies and cohorts.

Among the properties of the case were those from the Philippine Journalists Inc. (PJI), which is a 7,087 square meter parcel of land located in Bagalangit, Mabini, Batangas.

During the pendency of the case, defendants Jaime Cura, formerly the president of the PJI, and Quisumbing, executed a Contract of Sale dated June 5, 1991, and a Deed of Absolute Conveyance dated June 25, 1991 over the PJI Properties.

But the Sandiganbayan nullified the sale of the PJI properties, and the decision was even upheld by the Supreme Court.

Quisumbing said in his MR the 1991 sale of the PJI property to him was valid and did not need any prior approval of the Sandiganbayan.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which filed the complaint against the respondents, cannot validly sell the property without prior authority from the Sandiganbayan.

And assuming that the 1991 sale was void, Quisumbing said that the PJI should be directed to return to him the P735,000 he paid, plus interest and peso devaluation adjustment since 1991.

In its 11-page resolution, the anti-graft court said that Quisumbing’s MR lacks merit. “Since he has been determined to be a builder in good faith, Quisumbing’s rights to the PJI Properties will be governed by Article 448 of the Civil Code, where the choice of option belongs to plaintiffs,” the resolution stated.

The same resolution denied the motion for partial reconsideration filed by the PCGG, through the Office of the Solicitor General, arguing that Quisumbing cannot be considered a builder in good faith.

The motion for reconsideration of Jaime Cura, formerly the President of the PJI, was likewise denied. He insisted that the PJI was not a sequestered corporation, and that the sequestration orders presented by the PCGG were void and did not cover the PJI.

“In summary, defendants also have not raised any substantial argument or presented any compelling reason to warrant a reversal or modification of this Court’s April 2, 2019 decision,” it added.

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