High court voids case vs Imee over 1977 killing of student
Published August 17, 2006 7:38pm
The Supreme Court has voided proceedings of a civil case against Ilocos Norte Rep. Imee Marcos to enforce an American court ruling that she pay $4.4 million to the family of Archimedes Trajano, a student believed to have been killed by her security escorts in 1977.
In an 18-page decision penned by Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, Jr., the Supreme Court’s third division declared as null and void the Court of Appeals (CA) decision dated Oct. 11, 1994 which ordered the Pasig RTC Branch 163 to junk Marcos’ motion to dismiss the case because the summons were not properly served to her.
Trajano, then a 21-year-old student at the Mapua Institute of Technology, had stood up in an open forum on August 1977 to question the eldest daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos on her capability to lead the youth.
The nation was then under martial law and headed the national youth organization Kabataang Barangay and was at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila where she addressed thousands of students.
Trajano told Marcos that she would not have assumed a leadership position if she was not the presidential daughter. He also questioned her on her father's role in human rights violations.
On Sept. 2, 1977, the bloodied body of Trajano was found on the streets of Manila.
The student’s parents were told he got into a dormitory fight.
Witnesses later came forward to testify that Trajano was last seen being forcibly removed from the university forum by Marcos’ security escorts.
It is believed Trajano was tortured for 12 to 36 hours before he died.
His mother sued Marcos before the US district court in Honolulu, Hawaii, on March 20, 1986, barely a month after the Marcos family fled the country following the EDSA people power that year.
In 1991, the US court awarded $4.4 million to the Trajano family.
The Trajano family filed a civil case with the Pasig regional trial court (RTC) in 1993 seeking to collect on the compensation from Marcos.
The Supreme Court's ruling on Thursday in favor of Marcos declared that the Pasig RTC lacked jurisdiction to conduct proceedings because its sheriff failed to serve the summons to Marcos and explain why he had failed to do so.
Court records showed that on July 6, 1993, the Pasig RTC issued summons against Marcos addressed to Alexandra Condominium Corporation at Meralco Avenue, Pasig City.
The summons and a copy of the complaint were served on July 15, 1993 to Macky dela Cruz, an alleged caretaker of Marcos at the Alexandra condominium.
The Pasig RTC declared Marcos in default in an order dated Oct. 13, 1993 for failure to heed to the summons.
The high court in its ruling, however, said the Pasig RTC also failed to comply with the requirements that the summons must be left with a person of suitable age and discretion, residing in the defendant’s house or residence.
In her motion to dismiss filed before the Pasig RTC, Marcos presented her Philippine passport and the disembarkation car issued by the immigration service of Singapore to show that she was a resident of Singapore.
Now 50, Marcos is on her third and last congressional term as Representative of the 2nd district of Ilocos Norte.