Imelda Mar­cos to ask Sandi­gan­bayan to re­view rul­ing

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Nation -

FOR­MER first lady and cur­rent Ilo­cos Norte Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Imelda Mar­cos will ask the Sandi­gan­bayan to re­con­sider its de­ci­sion which found her guilty of seven counts of graft.

In a state­ment is­sued Fri­day af­ter­noon, Novem­ber 9, Mar­cos said re­tired Court of Ap­peals jus­tice Manuel “Lo­long” Lazaro was study­ing the Sandi­gan­bayan de­ci­sion.

He has ad­vised Mar­cos, how­ever, that he in­tends to file a mo­tion for re­con­sid­er­a­tion.

Lazaro acts as coun­sel for Mar­cos in the ab­sence of Robert Sison, who “has been in­dis­posed and is presently con­fined at the Asian Hospi­tal.”

Mar­cos, 89-year-old widow of the late strong­man Fer­di­nand Mar­cos, said she re­ceived Fri­day a copy of the Sandi­gan­bayan 5th Di­vi­sion’s de­ci­sion, which was pro­mul­gated ear­lier Fri­day.

Mala­cañang ear­lier said it re­spects the Sandi­gan­bayan rul­ing.

Pres­i­den­tial Spokesper­son Sal­vador Panelo said the rul­ing merely demon­strates that the coun­try’s jus­tice sys­tem “is work­ing and fa­vors no one”.

“While we note that

there are still le­gal reme­dies avail­able to Con­gress­woman Mar­cos, this lat­est de­vel­op­ment un­der­scores that our coun­try cur­rently has a work­ing and im­par­tial jus­tice sys­tem that fa­vors no one,” Pres­i­den­tial Spokesper­son Sal­vador said in a state­ment.

Mar­cos was the min­is­ter of Hu­man Set­tle­ments, Metro Manila gov­er­nor, and a mem­ber of the In­terim Batasang Pam­bansa dur­ing her hus­band’s dic­ta­tor­ship from 1965 to 1986.

Nearly three decades af­ter the Of­fice of the Om­buds­man filed 10 graft cases against her, the Sandi­gan­bayan found her guilty of seven counts of graft for us­ing her Cabi­net po­si­tion to main­tain Swiss bank ac­counts.

She was sen­tenced to im­pris­on­ment of six years and one month to 11 years for each count of graft. She was ac­quit­ted of the three other counts of graft.

Mar­cos, who is run­ning for Ilo­cos Norte gov­er­nor in the 2019 midterm elec­tions, was also per­pet­u­ally dis­qual­i­fied from pub­lic of­fice.

Panelo said the court’s de­ci­sion was proof that the Duterte gov­ern­ment does not med­dle “in the af­fairs of an­other sep­a­rate and in­de­pen­dent branch of the gov­ern­ment.”

“The Ex­ec­u­tive Branch is not in the busi­ness of ex­ert­ing un­due in­ter­fer­ence or in­flu­ence in the af­fairs of an­other sep­a­rate and in­de­pen­dent branch of the gov­ern­ment,” he said.

“As such, we man­i­fest our re­spect to the de­ci­sion of the Sandi­gan­bayan find­ing for­mer First Lady and in­cum­bent Ilo­cos Norte Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Imelda Mar­cos guilty of the seven out of the ten cases filed against her,” the Palace of­fi­cial added.

The Mar­cos fam­ily has been ac­cused of stash­ing around $10 bil­lion in hid­den bank ac­counts over­seas.

The Pres­i­den­tial Com­mis­sion on Good Gov­ern­ment, tasked to re­cover Mar­coses ill-got­ten wealth, has al­ready re­cov­ered P170 bil­lion.

In Septem­ber 2017, Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte raised the pos­si­bil­ity of grant­ing the Mar­cos fam­ily lim­mu­nity from crim­i­nal prose­cu­tion in ex­change for the re­turn of part of their hid­den wealth.

Duterte’s pre­vi­ous of­fer came af­ter the dic­ta­tor’s son, Fer­di­nand Mar­cos Jr., al­legedly ex­pressed will­ing­ness to re­turn “a few gold bars.”

Panelo said the rul­ing against the Ilo­cos law­maker should en­cour­age all work­ers in gov­ern­ment to main­tain their “pro­fes­sion­al­ism, fidelity, and in­tegrity” in serv­ing the pub­lic.

“We treat this de­ci­sion by the anti-graft court as a good re­minder to all pub­lic ser­vants that pub­lic of­fice is a pub­lic trust and that we are all ac­count­able to the peo­ple we serve,” he said.

“As ser­vants of the peo­ple, we must there­fore carry out our du­ties not only with pro­fes­sion­al­ism and fidelity but most im­por­tantly, with in­tegrity,” he added. (Sun­Star Philip­pines)

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