Imelda Mar­cos guilty of 7 counts of graft; court or­ders her ar­rest

Watchmen Daily Journal - - Nation - (Lian Buan, Rap­pler.com)

MANILA – The anti-graft court Sandi­gan­bayan con­victed Ilo­cos Norte 2nd District Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Imelda Mar­cos of 7 counts of graft re­lated to pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tions cre­ated in Switzer­land while she was a govern­ment of­fi­cial from 1968 to 1986.

"Where­fore, premises con­sid­ered, this Court finds the ac­cused guilty be­yond rea­son­able doubt...," said the 5th Divi­sion Clerk of Court while read­ing the ver­dict on Fri­day, Novem­ber 9.

Nei­ther Mar­cos nor any of her lawyers were present dur­ing the pro­mul­ga­tion of de­ci­sion.

The 89-year-old Mar­cos was sen­tenced to prison for 6 years and 1 month to 11 years for each case. She is also per­pet­u­ally dis­qual­i­fied from hold­ing pub­lic of­fice.

By the end of the hear­ing, 5th Divi­sion Chair­man As­so­ciate Jus­tice Rafael La­gos also or­dered the is­suance of a war­rant of ar­rest against Mar­cos.

But the Om­buds­man lead pros­e­cu­tor, as well as the 5th Divi­sion, clar­i­fied that be­cause graft is a bail­able case, she can have pro­vi­sional lib­erty while she is ap­peal­ing the con­vic­tion. Upon pay­ment of bonds, the war­rants of ar­rest will be lifted.

Lead pros­e­cu­tor Rey Quilala said the ball­park fig­ure of the pub­lic money in­volved in the pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tions amounts to US$200 mil­lion.

"It in­volves 7 Swiss foun­da­tions, tapos kinu-close 'yung ibang foun­da­tion, ita-trans­fer sa ibang foun­da­tion, and then close it again, trans­fer sa ibang foun­da­tion, na-trace po 'yung flow ng pera," said Quilala.

(It in­volves 7 Swiss foun­da­tions, then they close the foun­da­tions, then they trans­fer it to an­other foun­da­tion, and then close it again, trans­fer to an­other foun­da­tion, so we traced the flow of the money.)

Mar­cos was ac­quit­ted for the re­main­ing 3 counts in­volv­ing lo­cal cor­po­ra­tions based in the Philip­pines. The charges were filed way back 1991.

The 3 counts where she was ac­quit­ted in­volved foun­da­tions based in the Philip­pines.

"Sa lo­cal cor­po­ra­tion kasi may isang cor­po­ra­tion na gi­naguar­an­tee ng Pilip­inas 'yung loan ng $25 mil­lion and then hindi na pin­aba­yaran. Pilip­inas ang nag­guar­an­tee. 'Yung lo­cal cor­po­ra­tions po 'yun," Quilala said.

(There was one lo­cal co­po­ra­tion which guar­an­teed a loan of $25 mil­lion, and they were not asked to pay. The Philip­pines guar­an­teed it. Those are for the lo­cal cor­po­ra­tions.)

"Vic­tory pa rin po ito (This is still a vic­tory)," said Quilala.

The jus­tices who de­cided the case are As­so­ciate Jus­tices Rafael La­gos, Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega and Maryann Cor­pus Mañalac.

A copy of the full de­ci­sion was not re­leased as of writ­ing time.

This is Mar­cos' 2nd Sandi­gan­bayan con­vic­tion. In 1993, the Court's First Divi­sion con­victed her of two counts of graft over anoma­lous con­tracts in­volv­ing a lease be­tween the Light Rail Tran­sit Au­thor­ity and the Philip­pine Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal Foun­da­tion, Inc. But in 1998, the Supreme Court ac­quit­ted her.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est list of the Sandi­gan­bayan's docket sec­tion, there is no re­main­ing crim­i­nal case against Mar­cos. She was charged for 28 crim­i­nal cases – the last 10 of which were the ones de­cided on Fri­day, where she was con­victed of 7 counts, and ac­quit­ted of 3.

There re­main, how­ever, civil cases mainly in­volv­ing for­fei­ture. Quilala was not able to im­me­di­ately con­firm if the money in­volved in the Swiss foun­da­tions is also be­ing re­cov­ered by the govern­ment in those civil cases.

(Rob Reyes/ Rap­pler file photo)

For­mer first lady Imelda Mar­cos is found guilty of 7 counts of graft for cre­at­ing pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tions in Switzer­land while she was a govern­ment of­fi­cial from 1968 to 1986.

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