MANILA, Philippines – Public officials should see the conviction of Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos for 7 counts of graft as a reminder that they can be held accountable for abuses, Malacañang said on Friday, November 9.
President Spokesperson and Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo issued the statement after the Sandiganbayan announced its guilty verdict in the graft cases against the former first lady.
“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,” Panelo said in a statement on Friday.
“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.
Malacañang said it respects the Sandiganbayan’s ruling.
“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. As such, we manifest our respect to the decision of the Sandiganbayan,” said Panelo.
The ruling, he added, only proved that the country has an “impartial” justice system.
“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,” said Panelo.
Marcos’ graft conviction stems from her creation of 7 private organizations or foundations in Switzerland used to transfer ill-gotten wealth. Some US$200 million in public funds were said to be involved in the scheme.
The 89-year-old was sentenced to 6 years and 1 month to 11 years in jail for every case. She is also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.
President Rodrigo Duterte has close ties with the Marcos family, and even suggested to lawmakers last year that they craft a law that would allow the Marcoses return their alleged ill-gotten wealth in exchange for immunity from criminal liability.
The Marcoses supported the presidential bid of Duterte, which the President had acknowledged after he won. Duterte has also openly expressed his preference for former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr as vice president so he could feel comfortable resigning anytime.
Marcos Jr has an electoral protest against opposition leader Vice President Leni Robredo, who over him in the 2016 polls by a narrow margin. – Rappler.com