By Mario Casayuran
The Senate minority bloc welcomed on Friday the Sandiganbayan decision finding Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, widow of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of graft, or exploiting her position to steal the people’s money and betraying their trust.
“The Sandiganbayan conviction is a faithful reminder that the Marcoses have plundered the nation’s wealth and have stolen from the people, no matter how much efforts to revise history are done by the Marcos family and their cohorts,’’ Senator Francis N. Pangilnan, president of the opposition Liberal Party (LP), said.
‘’We hope our courts will see this through to conviction and give no special treatment to Mrs. Marcos,’’ Pangilinan said.
‘’We applaud the order for her arrest and her perpetual disqualification from holding public office, especially as she is running for governor of Ilocos Norte,’’ he stressed.
‘’However, we would like to point out that this case is from at least 34 years ago. This points to how long and therefore frustrating the Philippine judicial system is, and especially in relation to how powerful and powerfully entrenched the accused are,’’ he added.
Pangilinan pointed out that ordinary Filipinos pay the price for their mistakes right away, like the jeepney driver who has to pay kotong (bribe) as soon as he is caught.
‘’Let us ensure that this people’s win of justice becomes a reality. Let us work for a judicial system where no one is above the law,’’ he said.
Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, a member of the Aquino clan that fought the martial law administration of the late President Marcos, said the Marcoses can no longer deny that they stole from the Filipino people.
‘’Nahatulan sila at pinatalsik noong People Power Revolution, at ngayon naman, nahatulan na sa korte,’’ Aquino said. (They were judged and ousted by the Filipino people through the People Power revolution and now the court convicted her.)
‘’Despite the slow grind, we hope this can be the beginning of our country’s move towards justice,’’ he said.
`The acknowledgment of the truth about our history and the assurance of justice for a nation robbed of its riches and potential will finally allow us to move on,’’ he added.