De Lima calls Imelda bail ‘grossest inequality’ in PH justice system

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The decision to allow former First Lady and current Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos to post bail a week after she was convicted on seven counts of graft is “one of the grossest inequality” in the country’s justice system, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has said.

De Lima said the former First Lady’s bail amounting to PhP150,000 is nothing compared to the amount of the people’s taxes she and her husband, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, were found to have stolen and diverted to their secret Swiss bank accounts.

“Found guilty of stealing millions of dollars of public funds, Mrs. Marcos is asked to pay a measly PhP150,000.00 for bail in order to continue enjoying her freedom until the conviction becomes final,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 420.

“On the other hand, to the majority of Filipinos kept in poverty by the Marcos’s looting of government coffers, once they are accused of a crime, bail remains a privilege that, more often than not, cannot be availed of,” she added.

Citing the glaring injustice happening in the country, De Lima noted thousands of accused remain in jail waiting for the trial of their cases, not because they are guilty, but because they cannot afford to post bail or are accused of non-bailable offenses.

Last Nov. 9, after 27 years since the filing of the case, the Sandiganbayan 5th Division has found the Marcoses’ matriarch guilty on seven counts of graft for using her Cabinet position to maintain Swiss bank accounts during their family’s rule.

She was sentenced to prison for six years and one month to 11 years for each of the seven counts of graft. Imelda Marcos, who is now serving her third straight term as a representative of Ilocos Norte and is running for Ilocos Norte governor in next year’s midterm elections, is also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.

The same court allowed the 89-year-old widow of the late strongman to post bail while the court decides on her “motion for leave of court to avail of post-conviction remedies.” Meanwhile, without naming names, De Lima slammed a colleague for wrongly accusing that she is as entitled as Imelda Marcos for supposedly being privileged to be imprisoned in a bungalow.

“For the record, I am not confined in a ‘bungalow’. This colleague of mine is welcome to visit me to see for himself my condition here. Should a visit be too much to ask, he can just ask those who have been here, particularly a few fellow senators, who have already seen my detention quarters,” said De Lima, who remains detained on trumped-up drug charges at the PNP Custodial Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City.

De Lima maintained that the said colleague cannot see the difference between the conviction of a powerful and influential Marcos for corruption, and her unjust imprisonment and persecution for political reasons and personal vendetta.

“Contrary to his malicious imputation, unlike Imelda Marcos and other plunderers, I don’t belong here or in any jail facility for that matter. No kind of jail can ever be appropriate for an innocent person. Nevertheless, as I have said before, I’d rather be in jail than be free in the company of cravens, enablers and collaborators,” she said.

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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