THE Supreme Court (SC) has granted a petition assailing the Sandiganbayan’s cancellation of a notice of lis pendens issued over property alleged to be ill-gotten by former President Ferdinand Marcos and his associates.
Lis pendens is a written notice of a pending suit involving property usually filed before the appropriate office.
In a ruling, the SC’s Second Division held that the anti-graft court “should have issued an order of preliminary attachment considering that the requisites of the law – including that of Executive Order No. 14 – have been substantially met and that there is factual basis for the issuance of the preliminary attachment.”
“Wherefore, the petition for certiorari is granted. The assailed resolutions dated January 11, 2010 and December 1, 2010, insofar as they direct the cancellation of the notice of lis pendens, are annulled,” the ruling said.
Former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Maria Imelda Marcos and Irene Marcos Araneta are the supposed registered owners of a parcel of land located in the municipality of Cabuyao, Laguna and covered by a Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT).
On July 16, 1987, the Republic of the Philippines, through the Presidential Commission on Good Government, filed before the Sandiganbayan a complaint seeking to recover ill-gotten wealth acquired by the Marcoses during their incumbency as public officers in active collaboration with their cronies, dummies and close business associates.
Although the Sandiganbayan found that the notice is not for the purpose of molesting the adverse party, it cancelled the notice of lis pendens as it was not necessary to protect the right of petitioner, prompting the petitioner to seek redress before the SC.
In its October 5, 2016 decision that was released only recently, the court said the anti-graft court committed grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioner’s motion for issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment.
“Procedural rules are not mere technicalities that can be disregarded at whim by the parties or by our courts. Neither should they be applied so mechanically without any appreciation of their purpose and object,” the High Court.
The tribunal also set aside the Sandiganbayan ruling and ordered the Register of Deeds of Cabuyao to reannotate the notice of lis pendens on the TCT.
The verdict was penned by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen and concurred in by Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Mariano del Castillo and Jose Catral Mendoza.