SHOULD THE FILIPINO NATION rejoice over the conviction of former First Lady and Ilocos Norte Congresswoman Imelda Marcos (89) to at least 77 years in jail for 11 counts of graft while she was a member of the Batasang Pambansa, Metro Manila governor and minister of Human Settlements?
Using Swiss foundations, the Marcoses were said to have funneled some US$200-M (about P 11-Billion) in illegally acquired wealth which was way above their reported legal income from 1968 to 1981.
Although the Supreme Court has yet to rule with finality, the Sandiganbayan conviction shatters the shameless defense of the Marcoses that accusations for corruption against them were fictitious and without basis. But it has been earlier shattered likewise even before this ruling.
First, a Hawaiian court foreclosed US$2-Billion (P108-Billion) of the Marcos Estate to compensate 9,000 human rights victims during the Marcos despotic rule in the country.
Second, even back in July 2003, the Supreme Court had already ruled as ill-gotten US$683-Million (P37-Billion) in Swiss deposits, which were way above the Marcos’ declared income of US$304,000 from 1966 to 1986, the year People Power forced the Marcos family into exile.
Thirdly, the Presidential Commission on Good Government had already recovered P 170-Billion of the estimated $5-$10- Billion allegedly plundered by the Marcoses.
It has been told in the news that the Marcoses had reportedly promised to return a huge part of their wealth abroad to the Philippines in exchange for immunity from suit for graft – to the Duterte government.
All of the above proves that the Marcos illegal Wealth does exist because they have been proven to exist because as science tells us “matter is something that occupies space and has weight.”Their dollar and other currencies loot and the so-called Marcos gold bars do have such properties.
Besides, as what you can tell even grade school students today- you cannot contest in court what is NOT yours nor promise to return what is NOT in your possession. Logic 101, Senyores.
The Marcos plunder story had become so huge globally that new terminologies emerged: Kleptocracy ( a disease-desire to steal for reasons way above the usual human needs), Imeldific ( to be ostentatious) and “To do a Marcos” (to con or deceive). They were also called “The Conjugal Dictatorship”.
Yet, up to this day and age, denials coming from the family continue.
In fact, the Marcoses are hankering to come back into power. There is former senator Bongbong Marcos contesting the win of Vice President Leni Robredo with the background that President Duterte would “resign” if Bongbong Marcos will succeed him legally.
There is Governor Imee Marcos who is running for the Senate exchanging places with her mother Imelda who will run for Governor of Ilocos Norte.
Once back into power, surely the whole Marcos Episode and the Dark Days of Martial Law will be whitewashed int oblivion- all legal cases stopped and all textbooks will be rewritten to glorify the “golden days” of Martial Law.
Does it, therefore, mean that the Sadiganbayan conviction of Imelda Marcos means that justice in the Philippines -at least within a time frame of an agonizing 30 years- actually still does work? Not necessarily.
Without finality in judgment, Imelda can still run to the Supreme Court which has a bad record of exonerating the guilty. For instance, former senator Juan Ponce Enrile, convicted and jailed for “plunder” was freed on bail for “humanitarian reasons” and because the Sandiganbayan did a grave abuse of discretion jailing him without considering the: “fragile health and advance age” of Enrile who was then 91 only in 2015.
Now, the 94-year wily coyote is gunning for the Senate- all health fragility and old age infirmity and senility apparently erased by the “stem cell” surgery Enrile was supposed to have undergone? The party-list group Akbayan argues that with Enrile’s new-found “agility”- he should be sent back to prison.
Imelda can do the same Enrile Escape Route and skip jail time as well for the same reason.
Since the conviction is without finality -Imelda can still become Governor Imelda Marcos of Ilocos Norte by May next year instead of serving the first of her 77 years jail term inside the prison cell.
Does one now have a basis to have full faith in the Philippine justice system? Stay a minute.
The Sandiganbayan also recently ordered the temporary release of former senator Jinggoy Estrada from plunder charges since it cannot be proven that he was the principal beneficiary of the Napoles PDAF Scandal (but Janet only herself) and the same argument could be used in order to free another jailbird in former senator Bong Revilla.
From our passable appreciation of the law, in a “syndicated estafa” as it would seem in the Napoles PDAF Scam, the crime of one is a crime of all. So, why are the rest being freed except Napoles?
Wasn’t it a big joke at the time of the PDAF investigation in the Senate, that Napoles reportedly replied when asked whether it is true that she owned 28 houses, that she answered: “Actually 30- I own two other houses- the Lower and the Upper Houses.” (Laughter).
It is not fair for two former presidents like Joseph Estrada who was in house arrest at Tanay until he was legally freed when pardoned by his successor Gloria Arroyo, who herself served her arrest (including hospital stays) until freed by the Supreme Court in this administration’s time.
This tired argument just does not hold water. That, since the Aquino Sandiganbayan was biased in just jailing three opposition senators while the others (non-oppositionists) were scot-free, then the three convicted senators should, therefore, be”not guilty”.
And the really funny thing is that all three: Enrile, Estrada, and Revilla are running again for the Senate, the very platform they are accused of using in executing their alleged acts of plunder.
What if two or all three of them get to be elected senators again in May- is there a law that erases their potential final conviction because they were reelected to the post they were deposed from?
In sum, what is the final answer to the question as to what the conviction of Imelda Marcos to 77 years in jail mean? It means nothing.
Nothing, until with finality, the guilty parties in this country -are permanently locked in jail to serve the just punishment for arrogating unto own’s personal selfish use those funds that clearly belong to an impoverished nation- especially those needing public service.
Postpone, breaking open the champagne, Gentlemen.
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