The family of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos lost their claim on a 57.68-hectare resort in Brgy. Suba, Paoay, Ilocos Norte after the Sandiganbayan declared the lease deal between the Marcoses and the Philippine Tourism Authority covering the said property null and void on Wednesday.
The 33-page decision dated April 21—stemming from the case filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) on March 3, 2010—was handed out by the Sandiganbayan’s 1st Division and penned by Associate Justice Rafael Lagos.
The Sandiganbayan ruled that the former dictator and President and his family do not own the Paoay property because the area is an inalienable public domain being a national park. As such, the anti-graft court declared that the Marcoses cannot own the said report and therefore, had no authority to out the Paoay property under any agreement or transaction.
“The Paoay Lake and lands within one kilometer from its water line were declared to be a national park and therefore considered public land. These were therefore outside the commerce of man,” the Sandiganbayan said.
With the Paoay resort out of the Marcoses’ jurisdiction, the Sandiganbayan also ruled that the 154 lots, as well as the structures found on them which are covered by the abovementioned deal are all property of the Philippine government.
Aside from the lots, the anti-graft court also transferred the following properties to state jurisdiction: Malacañang Ti Amianan, Maharlika Hall building, Suba Sports Complex, the Old Motor Pool, swimming pools, tennis court and an 18-hole golf course.and placed under the control of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority.
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., the late dictator’s son, has earlier asked the Sandiganbayan to dismiss PCGG’s bid to turn over the Paoay property to the Philippine government by arguing that the Paoay resort was not in PCGG’s list of Marcos properties subject to sequestration.
The Sandiganbayan, however, ruled against the younger Marcos’ plea by citing that the Office of the Solicitor General and the PCGG were able to prove that the Paoay asset originally belonged to the state since President Marcos spent hundred of millions of pesos for developing the Paoay property shortly after the lease deal was inked thru taxpayers’ money.
Likewise, the heirs of former President Marcos have filed patent applications over the lots covered by the lease deal.
“It does not matter that the PCGG never sequestered the property. What matters is that the petition alleges that the former President used all his powers and influence to appropriate to himself all the lots covered by the lease with scanty claims of ownership,” The anti-graft court argued.
“The Marcos heirs have concentrated their free patent applications on the lots where most of the improvements are situated. Just on this score, the lease contract should be declared void,” the Sandiganbayan added.
LLANESCA T. PANTI