Chavez v. PCGG, GR 130716, 9 December 1998
Whether or not the General and Supplemental Agreements which the PCGG entered into with the Marcos heirs, are violative of the Constitution and the laws aforementioned.
Yes for the following reasons:
The government also waives all claims and counterclaims, "whether past, present, or future, matured or inchoate," against the Marcoses. Again, this ill-encompassing stipulation is contrary to law. Under the Civil Code, an action for future fraud may not be waived. The stipulation in the Agreement does not specify the exact scope of future claims against the Marcoses that the government thereby relinquishes. Such vague and broad statement may well be interpreted to include all future illegal acts of any of the Marcos heirs, practically giving them a license to perpetrate fraud against the government without any liability at all. This is a palpable violation of the due process and equal protection guarantees of the Constitution. It effectively ensconces the Marcoses beyond the reach of the law. It also sets a dangerous precedent for public accountability.
The Agreements do not provide for a definite or determinable period within which the parties shall fulfill their respective prestations. It may take a lifetime before the Marcoses submit an inventory of their total assets.
The Agreements do not state with specificity the standards for determining which assets shall be forfeited by the government and which shall be retained by the Marcoses. While the Supplemental Agreement provides that the Marcoses shall be entitled to 25 per cent of the $356 million Swiss deposits (less government recovery expenses), such sharing arrangement pertains only to the said deposits. No similar splitting scheme is defined with respect to the other properties.
The government binds itself to cause the dismissal of all cases against the Marcos heirs, pending before the Sandiganbayan and other court. This is a direct encroachment on judicial powers, particularly in regard to criminal jurisdiction. Well-settled is the doctrine that once a case has been filed before a court of competent jurisdiction, the matter of its dismissal or pursuance lies within the full discretion and control of the judge.
The absence of then President Ramos' approval of the principal Agreement, an express condition therein, renders the compromise incomplete and unenforceable. Nevertheless, as detailed above, even if such approval were obtained, the Agreements would still not be valid
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The General and Supplemental Agreement dated December 28, 1993, which PCGG and the Marcos heirs entered into are hereby declared NULL AND VOID for being contrary to law and the Constitution. Respondent PCGG, its officers and all government functionaries and officials who are or may be directly ot indirectly involved in the recovery of the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and their associates are DIRECTED to disclose to the public the terms of any proposed compromise settlment, as well as the final agreement, relating to such alleged ill-gotten wealth, in accordance with the discussions embodied in this Decision. No pronouncement as to cost.