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Imelda prays for acquittal from graft raps over Swiss foundations

The Presidential Commission on Good Government had earlier identified a total of $658 million deposits in the conjugal Swiss dollar accounts of the Marcos couple. Boy Santos, File
MANILA, Philippine — Former First Lady and incumbent Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos has prayed to the Sandiganbayan to acquit her of graft cases in connection with her alleged creation of Swiss foundations during her term as Batasan assemblywoman and Manila governor.
 
In her 11-page memorandum filed before the anti-graft court's Fifth Division on Sept. 19, Mrs. Marcos, through her lawyer Robert Sison, maintained that the Office of the Ombudsman's prosecution team failed to present any evidence to prove that she had “financial or pecuniary interests" in the foundations and private corporations being linked to her and her husband, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
 
Mrs. Marcos' camp said that while the prosecution alleged that she created the Swiss foundations and held positions in several private corporations, “there is no evidence that accused indeed intervened in any matter before a government office for her pecuniary benefit”.
 
“True, participating in the management of a business is proscribed by the Constitution but by itself, such participation is not punishable under Section 3 (h) of RA No. 3019. There must be a showing of a prohibited pecuniary or financial interest in a contract with, or a privilege or franchise granted by the government,” Mrs. Marcos' memorandum read.
 
 
Filed by the ombudsman in December 1991, the 10 counts of graft against Mrs. Marcos stemmed from alleged creation of several private foundations in Switzerland and holding of financial interests in various private enterprises from 1976 to 1986 when she was the Minister of Human Settlements and the concurrent Metro Manila governor and from 1978 to 1984 while she was a member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa.
 
The prosecution said Mrs. Marcos violated Section 3 (h) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits public officials having financial or pecuniary interests in any business, contract or transaction in which he or she has the official capacity to intervene.
 
 
The Presidential Commission on Good Government had earlier identified a total of $658 million deposits in the conjugal Swiss dollar accounts of the Marcos couple.
 
The prosecution said the Marcos couple created secret foundations and bank accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein to allegedly funnel illegally amassed government funds during the martial law.
 
In her memorandum, Mrs. Marcos further argued that “assuming without admitting” that the management of a foundation and private entity is punishable under Section 3 (h) of RA 3019, she must still not be held liable for that offense.
 
“The reason is that the opening and maintenance of a bank account in the name of a business does not by itself constitute participation in the management of a business,” Mrs. Marcos said.
 
Lastly, Mrs. Marcos said there was also no proof presented that any of the named foundations in all the 10 graft cases were business entities or were operating for profit, thus, it was also not proven that she had pecuniary or financial benefits in their operations.
 
The prosecution had earlier submitted its 28-page memorandum, insisting that enough witnesses and documentary evidence were presented to prove Mrs. Marcos guilt “beyond reasonable doubt.”
 
The trial of the cases lasted for 17 years or from January 2000 to March 2017.
 
Following both camps' submission of their respective memorandum, the 26-year-old graft cases are now deemed submitted for resolution.
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