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Sandiganbayan orders Marcos ‘cronies’ to return ill-gotten wealth in Eastern Telecoms


The Sandiganbayan has ordered known associates of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos to return assets off their shares in Eastern Telecommunications to the Philippine government after these were found to part of Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth.

The Sandiganbayan Special Third Division referred to the shares of defendants Jose Africa, Manuel Nieto, Jr., in the Eastern Telecommunications, acquired on June 10, 1974; as well as those of Polygon Investors and Managers, Inc.; and Aerocom Investors and Managers, Inc., namely: 

  • Victor Africa
  • Lourdes Africa
  • Natalie Africa
  • Lourdes Africa
  • Jose Enrique Africa
  • Lourdes Africa
  • Paul Delfin Africa
  • Rosario Songco
  • Raquel Dinglasari
  • Manuel Nieto III
  • Ramon Nieto
  • Victoria Legarda
  • Ma. Rita Delos Reyes
  • Rosario Arellano
  • Angela Lobregat
  • Benito Nieto,
  • Carlos Nieto
  • Carmen Tuazon and
  • Rafael Valdes—all of which assets were transferred to them by defendants Jose Africa and Manuel Nieto,  Jr.

The anti-graft court also ordered defendants Jose Africa and Manuel Nieto, Jr., substituted by their respective legal heirs, to return the aforesaid shares in Eastern Telecommunications including all the stock/cash dividends received/deposited and interests that may have accrued/may still accrue thereto, to the government.

“A public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees are given duties and powers pertinent to sovereignty which they hold in trust for, and exercise in behalf of, the public. In this case, defendant Marcos, then the highest elected public officer of the Republic, betrayed the trust reposed on him by the Filipino people when he resorted to this insidious scheme of employing his co-defendants, Nieto, Jr. and Africa, as his dummies in acquiring the sixty percent (60 percent) shares of stock   in the ETPI,” the anti-graft court said in its 142-page decision.

“Indeed, the employment by defendant Ferdinand Marcos of dummies  these shares only shows that the money used did not come from legitimate sources. Otherwise, there would have been no need for him to hide behind the cloak of anonymity by employing dummies,” the Sandiganbayan added.

The anti-graft court also admonished defendant Nieto, Jr. for “willingly and knowingly acted as agent of defendant Marcos by acquiring 60 percent of the shares in the ETPI on behalf of defendant Marcos.”

In addition, the Sandiganbayan ordered Aerocom Investors and Managers,  Inc. and Manuel  Nieto, Jr., substituted  by his legal heirs, to pay the government P68,167,610.93—the value equivalent to the  value  of  its Eastern Telecommunications, Philippines, Inc. shares it had transferred or conveyed to ISM Communications Corporation in July 11, 2005.

Lastly, Jose Africa and Manuel Nieto, Jr., substituted by their respective legal heirs, were also mandated to jointly and severally pay the Philippine government P1 million worth of exemplary damages.

“The monetary awards herein decreed shall earn interest at the legal rate of six percent per annum from the date of finality of this Decision until fully paid,” the anti-graft court said in its 142-page decision. —NB, GMA News

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