“Imelda Marcos was allowed to post bail two years ago, citing health reasons, even though she was able to attend and host parties since that time. Meanwhile, we have sickly and elderly political prisoners who were wrongly accused or convicted of crimes they have not committed, but are still unjustly suffering behind prison bars.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – A group of former political prisoners is asking the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeal of former Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Imelda Marcos who remains free after the Sandiganbayan found her guilty of seven counts of graft charges in 2018.
Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), an organization of former political prisoners including martial law victims and survivors sent a letter addressed to SC Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta today, Nov. 9.
In the letter, the group asked the SC to “uphold the Sandiganbayan’s decision regarding her conviction, in the interest of justice for all victims during the Marcos’ martial law period and accountability.”
“Granting Mrs. Marcos’s appeal would be sending a highly questionable message condoning high crimes such as graft and corruption in the country,”SELDA said.
Marcos was sentenced to six years and one month to 11 years of imprisonment for each case. She appealed her case to the SC and is currently released on bail. Aside from imprisonment, Marcos is also permanently disqualified from holding public office.
This is the second conviction of Marcos. The first was in 1993 when the Sandiganbayan convicted her of two counts of graft charges over anomalous contracts between the Light Rail Transit Authority and the Philippine General Hospital Foundation, Inc. However in 1998, the SC acquitted Marcos.
Danilo dela Fuente, SELDA vice chairperson and a martial law survivor, lamented that there are no reports of SC’s proceedings and decision on her appeal despite being convicted two years ago.
Dela Fuente and the rest of the victims of martial law are hoping that the SC will affirm the Sandiganbayan’s decision and pave the way to make Imelda Marcos accountable.
The group also criticized what they called as double standards in the country’s justice system.
“Imelda Marcos was allowed to post bail two years ago, citing health reasons, even though she was able to attend and host parties since that time. Meanwhile, we have sickly and elderly political prisoners who were wrongly accused or convicted of crimes they have not committed, but are still unjustly suffering behind prison bars,” Dela Fuente said.
SELDA cited the following:
- Frank Fernandez, 66 and his wife Cleofe Lagtapon who are both suffering from different physical ailments;
- Negros farmer couple Moreta, 73 and Jesus Alegre, 74 who are afflicted with hypertensive cardiovascular disease, hypertension and arthritis, respectively;
- Virginia Villamor, 68, has hypertension, and her husband Alberto, 65, is suffering from diabetes and who just recovered from a stroke last 2018; and,
- Gerardo dela Pen?a, 81, who is currently suffering from hypertension, among other conditions brought by old age.
“It is no wonder that Mrs. Marcos gets the preferential treatment, considering the prevalent sentiments on the double standard of justice in the country,” he added.
“We will never forget how the Marcoses amassed wealth from the nation’s coffers while poverty rates increased, poor Filipinos became even poorer as we bore the fascist attacks during that period. We will remain vigilant amid all historical lies and schemes for the political rehabilitation of the Marcoses and we will continue to fight for justice,” dela Fuente said.