FORMER first lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Romualdez Marcos should be convicted of graft, the Office of the Ombudsman says in memorandum.
In the 28-page memo its submitted to the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division, the Ombudsman said Mrs. Marcos had been proven guilty “beyond reasonable doubt” as shown by documentary evidence and the testimonies of witnesses presented in the 26-year-old case.
“From the foregoing discussion, the people certainly had successfully discharged its duty of proving the guilt of accused Imelda Romualdez Marcos beyond reasonable doubt,” says the memo filed on Aug. 29.
“Hence, a verdict of conviction for the aforementioned crimes is sought for against the accused.”
Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin said Monday the memo was a welcome development.
“It is a great development and high time that the Marcoses pay for their crimes,” Villarin said in a text message.
“It is a fitting event two days before we commemorate the declaration of martial law by her husband, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The wheels of justice continue to grind for us Filipinos and we should not lose hope that they will be made to pay in the end.
“I hope, though, that the Duterte administration will not intercede for Imelda Marcos and the courts will not grant her reprieve by reason of old age.” Mrs. Marcos is 88 years old.
Her office declined to make a statement on the issue, saying it had yet to read the memo.
Based on the case information filed in 1991, Mrs. Marcos was charged with 10 counts of graft for her participation in the management of several non-government organizations in Switzerland from 1978 to 1984
Mrs. Marcos, who was then the Minister of Human Settlements, Metro Manila Governor and a member of the Interim Batasan Pambansa, was not allowed by law to get involved in those transactions.
The foundations in question include Vibur Foundation, Maler Establishment, Trinidad Foundation, Rayby Foundation, Palmy Foundation, Aguamina Foundation and Avertina Foundation.
The Ombudsman also accuses Mrs. Marcos of channeling ill-gotten wealth worth almost $30 million in a bank account at the Banque Paribas despite only declaring a lawful income of $957,487.75 from 1965 to 1985.
Nevertheless, the Ombudsman says the Marcoses failed to dispute the evidence against the former first lady or deny the charges during the 17-year trial that took place from January 2000 to March 2017.
“Accused Mrs. Marcos had all the opportunity to testify in open court and contradict the foregoing pieces of evidence against her and deny the instant charges but miserably failed to do so,” the memo says.