"I doubt that the fomer first lady would go to jail."
The Sandigan found former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos guilty, beyond reasonable doubt, in seven counts of graft resulting from the establishment of the Marcos couple of seven foundation that allegedly hid illegal wealth.
Declared the 70-page Nov. 9, 2018 decision:
“GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt for violation of RA No. 3019, Section 3(h) in relation to Article IX, Section 8 of the 1973 Constitution in Criminal Cases Nos. 17287, 17288, 17289, 172890, 22867, 22868 and 22869 whereby she is sentenced, in each of these cases, to suffer the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment from six (6) years and one (1) month as minimum to eleven (11) years as maximum, with perpetual disqualification to hold public office. As regards the civil aspect consisting of forfeiture of the assets and accounts of the foundations subject of these cases, the Court defers to the disposition thereof in the forfeiture proceedings separately instituted against the accused;”
“ACQUITTED in Criminal Case No. 19225, for failure of the Information therein to charge an offense.”
The court invoked Republic Act 3019, Section 3(h) in relation to Article IX, Section 8 the 1973 Constitution. Under the 1973 Constitution, a public official like Imelda, cannot own private corporations. This is to avoid conflict of interest and graft.
RA 3019 is the Anti-Graft and Practices Act. Its Section 3-H refers to being “Director or indirectly having financing or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law from having any interest.”
Something is funny with the decision. Imelda was found guilty based on a Constitution that is extinct and defunct and no longer used in this country.
It is like being found guilty of jaywalking, an act considered a crime when you were charged in court, but which is no longer a crime today.
Imelda was found guilty for organizing, coordinating and directing the affairs of seven foundations that allegedly hid the wealth of the Marcoses. These are: Maler Foundation (Criminal Case 17287); Trinidad Foundation (CC 17288); Rayby Foundation (CC 17289); Palmy Foundation (CC 172890); Azio-Verzo (CC 22867); Rosalys-Aguamina (CC 22868); and Avertina-Xandy (CC 22869).
Said the court decision:
“As overwhelmingly established by evidence in Criminal Cases Nos. .17287, 17288, 17289, 17290, 22867, 22869, and 22870, Ms. Marcos organized, coordinated and directed the affairs of Maler, Trinidad, Rayby, Palmy, Azio-Verzo-Vibur, Avertina, and Rosalys-Aguamina Foundations, either personally or thru her designated agents, from the creation up to the end or dissolution thereof, including the transfer and disposition of their respective assets and accounts. In other words, Ms. Marcos participated in the management thereof, by exercising control over their assets and the disposal thereof, appointing the persons to represent these foundations, transmitting instructions, and ratifying the decisions and circumstances of these persons, all geared towards a particular objective.”
Imelda was found guilty for organizing, coordinating and directing the affairs of seven foundations that allegedly hid the wealth of the Marcoses.
These are: Maler Foundation (Criminal Case 17287); Trinidad Foundation (CC 17288); Rayby Foundation (CC 17289); Palmy Foundation (CC 172890); Azio-Verzo (CC 22867); Rosalys-Aguamina (CC 22868); and Avertina-Xandy (CC 22869).
Imelda was acquitted in three other cases—Criminal Case 19225 (ARCI and Dynetics), CC 17291 (diversion of government loan by ARCI), and CC 22870 (Pretorien-Gladiator--Cesar ESG foundations). Imelda having financial interest in a business is not automatically a crime.
In ARCI, it was not Imelda but Ferdinand Marcos who ran things. Criminal responsibility is personal to the perpetrator.
As to the Pretorien-Gladiator-Cesar-ESG foundations, the evidence is inadequate to prove Imelda’s active participation.
Imelda was sued in 10 criminal cases—eight for allegedly owning and running foundations that hid the family wealth, and two for allegedly intervening in a Philippine company which embezzled a government loan (the Asian Reliability case).
The first five cases (four foundations and ARCI) were filed in 1991. The sixth case (also ARCI) was filed in December 1993. The remaining four cases (involving another four foundations) were filed in August 1995. The first five cases were tried for 27 years. The sixth case tried for 25 years. And the last four were tried for 23 years.
The court said: “A review of evidence points not to Ms. Marcos, but to her husband Mr. Marcos, who personally participated in the management, control and direction of the affairs of ARCI. Criminal responsibility being personal to the perpetrator thereof, the same cannot be attributed by implication to Ms. Marcos. The evidence merely shows Ms. Marcos’ financial interests in ARCI, being the spouse of Mr. Marcos, but evidence of her active participation in the management and control thereof, which is prohibited under Article VIII, Section 11 of the 1973 Constitution, is insufficient.”
Now, will Imelda go to jail?
I doubt it.