[EDITORIAL] #AnimatED: Imelda is not just anybody, she’s the Iron Butterfly

[EDITORIAL] #AnimatED: Imelda is not just anybody, she’s the Iron Butterfly
Let us put this conviction in context: this is good for our national redemption

There’s something more than disturbing about the government’s lackadaisical treatment of Imelda Marcos’ court conviction.

We’ve heard many excuses – that “she’s old,” that “she’s a woman” – from no less than the chief of police. Oscar Albayalde even had to belabor the point that, compared to Senator Sonny Trillanes, Mrs Marcos had not launched rebellions. He failed to spot the main difference that separates the two: Trillanes’ case was nowhere near an arrest order – in fact, the justice department was still scrounging for one when the cops were already geared up to jail him – but Madame Iron Butterfly had already been pronounced guilty of 7 counts of graft. 

What the Marcos apologists in government choose to forget is that Imelda is a congresswoman now in Ilocos Norte, and before that, Leyte. She filed a certificate of candidacy for governor of Ilocos Norte. Is that a geriatric position?

Age should not shield people from accountability, especially when they’re found guilty of ransacking the people’s hard-earned money.

Where’s the police that’s usually quick to jail state enemies? Were they busy looking through their tokhang list, so that the suspects will be home with their Creator by Christmas, just as President Rodrigo Duterte said they should? It seems the police has too much time on its hands now, judging by the string of sexual offenses hitting the front pages. 

Is the Duterte government panicking over the scenario of jailing the matriarch of one of its most powerful, and certainly its most moneyed ally? Were mobile phones ringing all day and night with reminders of favors done and assurances that, of course, the venerated lady will not languish in jail?

Imelda was missing in action for her promulgation last week. She later cited “multiple organ infirmities” for her absence. Apparently, such infirmities could prevent a person from going to court, but not from partying the night before.

Marcos had asked for a “leave of court” to allow her to exhaust post-conviction remedies, including posting bail, while she appeals the ruling. We hope that “post-conviction remedies” do not mean twisting the law to a point that it will hardly be recognizable as justice in the aftermath. 

If the judicial system didn’t take 26 years to mete out justice, perhaps Imelda wouldn’t have been so advance in age. But that’s water under the bridge. We can only congratulate the Sandiganbayan for getting the tough job done. 

Imelda was convicted for 7 – not one – but 7 counts of graft, for settting up Swiss foundations, through which the family funnelled millions of dollars. It sounds like plunder, but at this point we will not quibble over this. We were just hoping that the bail would reflect the gravity of those convictions, not a paltry P150,000.

It’s ludicrous. This is, after all, Imelda Marcos.

She is the widow of Ferdinand Marcos, the brains behind Martial Law that, according to Amnesty International, imprisoned 70,000 people, tortured 34,000, and killed 3,240 from 1972 to 1981. She is not a scion who can brandish the excuse “the sins of the father are not sins of the children.” She was a top-ranking official, the once-powerful governor of Metro Manila no less.

She not only sang “Dahil Sa Iyo” and danced with Hollywood actor George Hamilton while the hubby romanced Dovie Beams; purchased Claude Monet paintings and fabulous jewelry worth a king’s ransom; and kept rooms and rooms full of shoes, gowns and mink coats. 

She was a partner-in-crime in bankrupting the coffers, and this graft is just a sliver of the depraved leadership of Ferdinand and Imelda. That legacy includes killing critics and opponents; torturing detainees in a manner that victims said were “worse than death;” turning the Philippines into the “sick man of Asia” for decades; and institutionalizing lies, forever warping our sense of right and wrong as a nation.

The Marcos couple also started the Filipinos’ twisted romance with strongmen, a legacy that continues to wreak havoc on our national unity and patrimony.

Putting her behind bars will not bring back the dollars stashed abroad, nor the desaparecidos, nor the time lost growing as a prosperous democracy along with our Asian neighbors. It will not even stop people from calling their sick Camelot the “golden age.”  

But it will tell the world that the collective moral compass of Filipinos is pointing in the right direction after all. It will tell people who’ve lost faith in the justice system that there is some hope. But more importantly, it will tell our children: the guilty cannot proclaim innocence forever.

This is good for our national redemption.

Former chair of the National Historical Commission Maria Serena Diokno, daughter of the late Pepe Diokno, a senator jailed by Marcos, said it best and left no room for revisionism: “It has been cemented in history that Imelda is a thief.” – Rappler.com

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