The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed the acquittal of former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos on her dollar salting case for illegally stowing away millions of dollars in Swiss bank accounts.
In a decision dated June 27 but only made public on Friday, the high court affirmed the 2008 acquittal of late President Ferdinand Marcos’ wife from 32 counts of dollar-salting by Judge Silvino Pampilo Jr. of the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC).
This was despite the existence of dollar accounts linked to Marcos foundations in Switzerland.
Pampilo earlier said the government failed to prove that Marcos and a deceased associate conspired not to report dollar earnings from foreign bank accounts.
Dollar salting is committed when dollars are removed from the Philippines without approval from the Central Bank and transferred to an account outside the county.
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen penned the SC decision.
Leonen noted that “apathetic prosecution allows impunity” and that in this case, the prosecution could have done better.
“The prosecution could have done better in this case. Sadly, it failed,” he said.
Leonen added that “prosecutors must not only be courageous but must also show their dedication; to public interest through their competence.”
“Otherwise, the system will invite suspicion that there had been unholy collusion,” he added.
“Fatal errors that should have been avoided by veteran litigators, such as a habit of postponements and a lack of preparation, cannot be papered over by a labyrinth of appeals that reaches this Court,” Leonen wrote.
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He also said: “That is a fool’s strategy that will only contribute to increasing the dockets of this Court, thereby denying time and resources from deserving petitioners.”
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