By Ben Rosario
Notwithstanding her graft conviction that imposes a maximum 77- year prison term, former First Lady and current Ilocos Sur Rep. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos will remain a member of the House of Representatives.
“Unless the judgment has become final, nothing could be done against Mrs. Marcos,” Deputy Speaker and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro stated Friday.
Castro, a law professor and founder of one of the leading law offices in the country, said the finality of the judgment will determine what action the Lower House will take on the legal issue.
Marcos was found by the Sandiganbayan guilty of seven counts of graft in connection with the creation of private organizations in Switzerland when she was serving as national government official from 1968 to 1986.
Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division meted out a prison term of six to 11 years for each count of the charges against the 89-year-old solon.
The anti-graft court immediately issued an arrest warrant against her although she is expected to post bail pending her bid for reconsideration of the judgment.
Aside from the long prison term, Marcos was perpetually disqualified from holding any public office.
Now on her third and final term as congresswoman, the former first lady has reportedly filed her candidacy for governor of Ilocos Sur, a post currently handled by eldest daughter, Gov. Imee Marcos.
Meanwhile, Akbayan Party-list Rep. Tom Villarin said that despite her age, Marcos should be arrested and “photos of her being brought to justice made public.”
The 89-year old Marcos can’t invoke age nor humanitarian grounds for her not to serve the sentence,” said Villarin.
The opposition lawmaker welcomed the Sandiganbayan decision, saying that this is a “clear and unequivocal proof that she deserves history’s judgment of a conjugal dictatorship that plunged our country in darkness more than three decades ago.”
“It is lady justice catching up with history. The decision is a welcome relief and mitigates the pain of the past,” Villarin said in a statement.
He added: “But only a full and voluntary acknowledgment by the Marcoses of their deeds can we say that closure is coming.“