You are on page 1of 1

#115 REPUBLIC V SANDIGANBAYAN

G.R. Nos. 109430-43 December 28, 1994


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (Second Division), IMELDA R.
MARCOS AND ESTATE/HEIRS OF THE LATE FERDINAND E. MARCOS, respondents.

Nature: Petition for Certiorari With Prayer for Writ of Preliminary Injunction or Temporary
Restraining Order

Facts: Petitioner challenges the decision of respondent Sandiganbayan in lifting the default
order against private respondent Imelda Marcos regarding the “ill-gotten wealth” cases
pending before it. It averred that private respondent incurred unreasonable delay when she
only moved to regain her standing in court only on July 8, 1992.

The delay, according to petitioner, were demonstrated by the following: (a) the death of her
husband was on September 28, 1989 and as such, she was reasonably expected then to regain
her composure to attend her cases; (b) after being exonerated from her case before the
Southern District of New York on July 2, 1990, the “abnormal burden” had “vanished or faded
away”; and (c) upon her return to the Philippines on November 1991, she had every
opportunity to personally take care of the cases pending before her since 1987.

Issues:
1. Is there inordinate delay on the part of private respondent so as to constitute default?
2. Did the Sandiganbayan commit grave abuse of discretion upon lifting the default order?

Ruling: WHEREFORE, there being no grave abuse of discretion committed by public


respondent Sandiganbayan (Second Division) in the issuance of the assailed resolution of 28
October 1992 lifting the order of default, as well as the resolution of 6 January 1993 denying
the reconsideration thereof, the instant petition is DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

Ratio: Sec. 3, Rule 18, of the Rules of Court states that a party declared in default, upon
discovery and before judgment, may file a motion, promptly and without unnecessary delay,
to set aside such order; provided that his failure to answer was due to fraud, accident, mistake
or excusable neglect and that his defense is meritorious. This as to be determined by the trial
court and absent any grave abuse, such as in the instant case, the Supreme Court cannot rule
otherwise.

Petitioner asserts then that there was inordinate delay on the part of private respondent in
filing her motion.

However, the records disclose that almost all of the "ill-gotten wealth" cases against the latter
have not even reached the pre-trial stage, and therefore, the lifting of the default order will
not result to any real injury against the interest of the State. Furthermore, at the time the
complaints were filed, private respondent and her family were effectively barred from
returning to the Philippines. She was likewise burdened with numerous civil and criminal suits
in the United States, inasmuch as the deteriorating health of her husband aggravated the
problems confronting her.

Hence, private respondent has meritorious defenses of which its tenability remains to be
ascertained during the trial.