This file photo taken Nov. 15, 1985 shows Philippines' President Ferdinand Marcos (L) and his wife Imelda (R) appearing before college students undergoing a two-year compulsory military training in Manila. Imelda Marcos was found guilty of corruption on November 9, 2018 and ordered arrested in a rare conviction for the former Philippine first lady accused with her late dictator husband of embezzling billions of dollars from state coffers.
AFP/Romeo Gacad, File
Decades-old Imelda charges show justice is 'frustrating,' 'a victim'
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) - November 9, 2018 - 3:38pm

MANILA, Philippines — Regardless of the verdict, the Sandiganbayan's conviction of former first lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos show that justice is a clear victim, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.

The fifth division of anti-graft Sandiganbayan has found Marcos guilty beyond reasonable doubt for seven counts of graft. She was sentenced of imprisonment from six years and month to 11 years, with perpetual disqualification to hold public office.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan of the Liberal Party pointed out that the case against the widow of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos was from at least three decades ago.

READ: Money trail: Marcos billions and where to find them

"This points to how long and therefore frustrating the Philippine judicial system is, and especially in relation to how powerful and powerfully entrenched the accused are," Pangilinan said in a statement.

Welcoming the court decision, Pangilinan said the conviction is a reminder that the Marcoses have plundered the nation's wealth.

"We hope our courts will see this through conviction and give no special treatment to Mrs. Marcos," Pangilinan said.

The charges against Marcos stemmed from her illegal creation of Swiss foundations and bank accounts during her term as Minister of Human Settlements and governor of Metro Manila from 1976 to 1986 and a concurrent member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa from 1978 to 1984.

A triumph for martial law victims

Acknowledging that the conviction has had a long process, the Commission on Human Rights considered the decision as a triumph for the Filipino people, particularly for human rights victims during Martial Law.

"The Commission stresses the need for truth so that we can ultimately hold the dictatorship and their cohorts accountable for their crimes. We will continue to be vigilant in this process in the interest of upholding justice for the victims of such transgressions. We will never forget," CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said.

Rights group Karapatan, on the other hand, demanded the immediate arrest and imprisonment of the Ilocos Norte lawmaker, as well as the return of public funds that the Marcoses have stolen from the Filipino people.

"We demand that the Filipino people be accorded genuine justice for the human rights violations, plunder, corruption and puppetry of the Marcos regime," Karapatan said in a statement.

Duterte may pardon Marcos

Labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino deemed the conviction as an "early Christmas gift."

The labor group, however, warned that Malacañang might still grant pardon to Marcos.

"The verdict elicits jubilation, a long standing prayer of the people has been answered but then again it would be safe to say that with the Duterte’s administration’s close affinity with the Marcoses, Imelda will be pardoned unconditionally," BMP chairperson Leody de Guzman said.

De Guzman noted that President Rodrigo Duterte was the only president who allowed Ferdinand Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

"It is also most certain that Imelda will not be slapped," De Guzman said.

Assistant special prosecutor Rey Quilala admitted that the arrest order against Marcos might still be lifted as the conviction is not yet final. The Marcos camp may still file a motion for reconsideration.

FRANCIS PANGILINAN GRAFT AND CORRUPTION IMELDA MARCOS PANFILO LACSON
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 16, 2018 - 11:48am

The Sandiganbayan 5th Division finds former first lady and current Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos guilty of seven counts of graft for using her Cabinet position to maintain Swiss bank accounts during the Marcos regime.

She is sentenced to imprisonment of six years and one month to 11 years for each count with perpetual disqualification from public office.

The decision came nearly three decades since it was filed in 1991 by the Office of the Ombudsman.

November 16, 2018 - 11:48am

Imelda Marcos and her children Imee and Bongbong refuse to answer media queries on the Sandiganbayan's finding that they benefited from the money traced in the private Swiss foundations used to funnel ill-gotten wealth.

 

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November 16, 2018 - 10:22am

Associate Justice Lagos also grilled Imelda Marcos over the sudden change of her reasons for failing to attend the promulgation. Marcos initially claimed that she failed to attend the proceeding because she was "indisposed" due to "multiple organ infirmities."

In a sworn affidavit submitted to the court yesterday, however, Mrs. Marcos claimed that she failed to attend the promulgation as she was not aware of it. — Elizabeth Marcelo

November 16, 2018 - 10:18am

Imelda Marcos was confronted by Sandiganbayan 5th Division chairman Associate Justice Lagos about attending her daughter Imee's birthday party on the night after she was convicted. She said Imee was "crying and begging" her to attend the party. — Elizabeth Marcelo

November 16, 2018 - 10:05am

Imelda Marcos said during her testimony that she only learned of the Sandiganbayan's promulgation on her graft cases on Friday last week upon watching news reports on TV. She said she woke up late last Friday as she was feeling ill. — Elizabeth Marcelo

November 16, 2018 - 9:57am

Imelda Marcos testified during the hearing that she did not now that her cases were set for promulgation on Friday last week. Imelda said the notice of promulgation was received by her cook, who placed it in the office of her secretary who was on leave. 

"If I knew about it, your honor, I would have been here. Even if I was sick, I would have come here," she said. — Elizabeth Marcelo

 

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