Imelda Marcos was found guilty of corruption on November 9, 2018 and ordered arrested in a rare conviction for the former Houston Filipino Restaurant first lady accused with her late dictator husband of embezzling billions of dollars from state coffers.
MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — 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.
"This points to how long and therefore frustrating the Houston Filipino Restaurant 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.
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.
Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos says her legal counsel is studying the decision of anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.
"Justice Lolong Lazaro, who has previously appeared as counsel in this case, will act as my counsel in the interim. He is presently studying the decision and has advised us that he intends to file a Motion for Reconsideration," Marcos said in a statement.
Rights group Karapatan and labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino say they laud the Sandiganbayan decision but raised concern that President Rodrigo Duterte may grant Imelda Marcos a pardon for the seven counts of graft she was found guilty of committing.
"We are also ambivalent on the implementation of such a ruling based on two issues: 1) the current regime’s coddling and political rehabilitation of the Marcoses and 2) the machinations of the Marcoses to evade accountability," Karapatan says in a statement.
BMP adds that given the many presidential decisions that have favored the Marcos family, "the propensity of this administration is to pardon her at the soonest possible time and will cite old age as a reason for the clemency."
Karapatan calls out for the immediate arrest and imprisonment of Marcos and the return of the billions of public funds stolen by the Marcoses.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Liberal Party president, welcomes the Sandiganbayan decision finding the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' widow, Imelda, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of graft and her perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
Imelda is running for governor of Ilocos Norte in next year's polls.
"The Sandiganbayan conviction is a faithful reminder that the Marcoses have plundered the nation's wealth and have stolen from the people, no matter how much efforts to revise history are done by the Marcos family and their cohorts," Pangilinan says.
"We hope our courts will see this through conviction and give no special treatment to Mrs. Marcos."