IMELDA CONVICTION ‘PROOF’ OF PALACE’S NON-INTERVENTION
Sandiganbayan Fifth Division finds Marcos guilty of seven counts of graft The decision came nearly three decades since the ombudsman lodged 10 graft cases against her The Ilocos Norte lawmaker can still post a bond for her temporary liberty and challeng
The anti-graft court’s order to arrest former first lady and current Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos for seven counts of graft merely demonstrates that the country’s “working and impartial” justice system “favors no one,” Malacañang said on Friday, Nov. 9.
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has found Marcos guilty of seven counts of graft for using her Cabinet position to maintain Swiss bank accounts during the regime of her husband, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“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 Panelo said in a statement.
Marcos was the minister of Human Settlements, Metro Manila governor, and a member of the Interim Bayasan Pambansa during her husband’s dictatorship from 1965 to 1986.
She was sentenced to imprisonment of six years and one month to 11 years for each count of graft.
The Ilocos Norte lawmaker, who is running for Ilocos Norte governor in the 2019 midterm elections, was also perpetually disqualified from public office.
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division said Marcos can still post a bond for her temporary liberty and challenge the court’s decision.
Panelo said the court’s decision against the 89-year-old Marcos was proof that the Duterte government is not meddling “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 Rep. Imelda Marcos guilty of the seven out of the 10 cases filed against her,” the Palace official added.
The decision came nearly three decades since the Office of the Ombudsman lodged 10 graft cases against her. She was acquitted of three counts of graft.
The case against Marcos stemmed from allegations that she had financial interests in private foundations in Switzerland she created while she was in public office.
The Marcos family has also been accused of stashing around $10 billion in hidden banks ac- counts overseas.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government, tasked to recover the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth, has already recovered P170 billion they purportedly looted.
In September 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte raised the possibility of granting the Marcos family immunity from criminal prosecution in exchange for the return of part of their hidden wealth.
Duterte’s previous offer came after the Marcos family had 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.