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BLIND SPOT: Imelda sa Selda

So, it’s official. Former First Lady and lest we forget, incumbent Congresswoman Imelda Marcos is convicted of corruption. Now the Philippine judicial system has cemented with definite decision the guilt of the former First Lady, (something which for many has been common knowledge). At least, this would finally dispel any lingering and lurking legends of their innocence, or how the nation would be better off had the Marcoses not been ousted from power, or how their violations are justifiable during that time, or some twisted theory on sanitizing their standing. At least now, everything of that sort would be categorized as some crazy conspiracy theory.

What is she guilty of anyway? “the anti-graft court found her guilty of 7 counts of graft related to private organizations created in Switzerland, funneling about $200 million to these foundations, while she was a government official (Manila governor) from 1968 to 1986” ( Whoa! That term was long enough for someone to raise a teenager who is old enough to vote; that long. Before we go any further, yes, kids, manila used to have a governor. The present day equivalent of which is the MMDA Chairman, a less thrilling title, and a less glamorous incarnation. You wouldn’t expect Mrs. Marcos to be all stressed out in managing Metro Manila traffic, and towing illegally parked cars. Yes, during that time, the manila governor who coincidentally also was the First Lady, had been (as now proven in court) stealing from funds for Filipinos, to foundations in Switzerland; the beneficiaries of which are her children, former Senator, and desperately Vice Presidential hopeful Bongbong Marcos, and Congresswoman Imee Marcos. Whoa, how nice. All of them have been active in elected public position.

So what sentence is she facing? Well, as per court decision, she’s supposed to serve “6 to 11 years in prison for each of the seven counts of violating an anti-corruption law. Okay, let’s do some math. That’s a minimum of 42 years, a maximum of 77 and an average of 60. Taking the average, she would be free at the age of 140. Yes, she’s 89 now. Besides this, she also face perpetual disqualification from public office. No more Congresswoman Imelda. Amazingly, we have been so annoyed at Congressman Pantaleon Alvarez and Congressman John Bertiz, that we have overlooked and forgotten that Madam Imelda was there all along. Where was she when they gave the Commission on Human Rights a one-peso budget, when they a staged a coup against the former speaker, and when they debated on impeachments. Oh, we forgot she was there. What bills has she authored again? Maybe there have been some; we’re not just aware of it. Interestingly, she’s headed towards seeking for another term on the same post. But it seems that won’t happen since her sentence includes permanent disqualification. However, realistically speaking, she may be kept from holding public post, but it’s highly unlikely that she’ll do jail time at 89. If they spared former Presidents Erap and Gloria, come on, certainly, they could give it to the former First Lady.

Why did it take so long? Final decision came after three decades. I guess that’s the time that all legal remedies are spent, and an violator has to face up consequences. “The case had been filed nearly three decades ago by then-Prosecutor Teresita Baldoz. Some were in 1991, others in 1994 and 1995, then were consolidated. Baldoz has since become Sandiganbayan

justice and retired last year at age 70.” ( ) Isn’t that simply amazing? It took so long the original prosecutor advanced to the seat of one of the judges deciding the cases, and even retired before the release of the verdict. This would make for a good anecdote or a humorous gag.

Ironic; isn’t it? The same administration which recognizes the hero status of the former President Ferdinand marcos, is the same one during which his First lady is recognized as a criminal. When you think about heroes, you think about Diego Silang and Gabriela Silang, Andres Bonifacio and Gregoria de Jesus or Ninoy Aquino and Cory Aquino, and Jess Robredo and Leni Robredo. Even in other fields, couples would be together in a singular cause, or a widow would continue to advocate the principles of a fallen husband. But this case is peculiar. A recognized and acknowledged hero’s wife is a convicted criminal of corruption. Aren’t they supposed to be advancing one cause?

But seriously now, the nation stands in welcoming the fortification of vindication of injustice, despite the number of years.

“I said to myself, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked,” Ecclesiastes 3:17

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