Koko Pimentel: Imelda Marcos can’t use old age to escape criminal liability

Camille Elemia
'Age cannot be used as an escape from criminal liability unless you are a child. Sa bata lang po ‘yun ‘di puwede sa matanda,' says Senator Aquilino Pimentel III

NO EXCUSE. Senator Aquilino Pimentel III says former first lady Imelda Marcos' old age is not an excuse to escape criminal liability. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Former first lady and Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Imelda Marcos’ old age is not an excuse to escape criminal liability.

Administration Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said this in TheLeaderIWant interview with Rappler on Wednesday, November 14.

“Age cannot be used as an escape from criminal liability unless you are a child. Sa bata lang po ‘yun, ‘di puwede sa matanda (That’s only for children, not for adults) unless may insanity defense (unless there’s an insanity defense),” said Pimentel.

Asked if the Marcos matriarch should be sent to jail, Pimentel said: “If that is ordered with finality by a court, be it Sandiganbayan or Supreme Court, then it should be enforced.”

Pimentel, however, defended the perceived differences in how authorities handled the case of Marcos and opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

For him, there should be no comparison because there are factual differences between the two cases.

“’Wag tayo ganun (Let us not be like that). Each case will have its own factual setting. Hindi ‘to (This isn’t) factual on criminal case and procedure. Let us not be quick to compare and to cite an injustice commited against one just because the other one is treated differently…People can be treated differently because they are situated differently. Puwede po yun, ‘di yun unfair (That can happen, it’s not unfair),” Pimentel said.

Social media users were outraged over the stark contrast between how the Philippine National Police is handling the former first lady’s case and other controversial cases, including that of Trillanes and other senior citizens in jail.

The PNP primarily cited Marcos’ old age when asked why they did not send an advance team to stand by for a court order for her arrest. (READ: No cuffs for Imelda Marcos if arrested – PNP)

Marcos was a no-show during the plenary sessions held from Monday, November 12, to Wednesday, November 14, at the Batasang Pambansa. Her congressional staff also told Rappler that the congresswoman, who usually attends plenary sessions, did not go to her office.

On November 9, the anti-graft court found Marcos guilty of illegally creating and maintaining private organizations in Switzerland, where she earned at least $200 million from interest and investments for the “private benefit” of the former first family. (READ: Imee, Bongbong Marcos were beneficiaries of illegal Swiss foundations)

The 89-year-old wife of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was sentenced to prison for 6 years and one month to 11 years for each of the 7 counts of graft. She is also perpetually disqualified from holding public office. (READ: ‘A taste of justice’ in Imelda Marcos’ guilty verdict – congressmen)

A warrant for her arrest has not been issued yet. The Sandiganbayan’s 5th Division is set to hear Marcos’ post-conviction remedies on Friday, November 16. (READ: Imelda Marcos’ post-conviction bail still undecided; trial bail forfeited– Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com