By SHERWIN DE VERA
With reports from PAOLA ESPIRITU
VIGAN CITY — People’s organizations in Ilocos region hailed the November 9 Sandigan Bayan ruling convicting Ilocos Norte second district representative Imelda Marcos for graft and called on the government to affect her immediate arrest.
“This is a victory of the people, a judgment that is long overdue,” said Antonino Pugyao, chairperson of the Solidarity of Peasants Against Exploitation (Stop Exploitation).
He added the government should act swiftly on the warrant of arrest issued by the court.
“No double standards, arrest Imelda immediately,” he said, adding, “the same way they prosecute and arrest activist for trumped-up charges.”
The antigraft court found the former first lady “guilty beyond reasonable doubt” for seven counts of graft. This is in connection with the funneling of funds to foundations created by the Marcoses in Switzerland from 1968 to 1986.
The ruling includes imprisonment for six years and one month to 11 years for each case and perpetual disqualification from public office.
“It’s but right to call them thieves, we called them thieves, right from the start and we continue to assert their guilt and thievery,” underscored Pugyao.
He said the Marcoses “never stopped stealing from the people’s money” mentioning the Commission on Audit report on the fraudulent transactions of the provincial government under Imee Marcos.
For the peasant leader, the decision is also a “vindication for the activists in Ilocos who stood and continue to hold their ground against the corruption of the Marcoses.”
Youth activists also expressed approval of the decision.
“We commend the bravery of the Sandiganbayan in the face of a government and court skewed towards the rehabilitation of the Marcoses,” said Kabataan Partylist Ilocos coordinator and fifth nominee Florence Kang.
He called on the public to be vigilant of attempts to overturn the decision and to hold the rest of the Marcoses accountable.
“They are repeating their parents’ crimes as they seek to once again amass power and wealth in their incumbent positions and in the upcoming elections,” the youth leader said.
Meanwhile, Karapatan, a national alliance for people’s rights, ambivalence over implementation of the ruling citing: 1) the current regime’s coddling and political rehabilitation of the Marcoses and 2) the machinations of the Marcoses to evade accountability. # nordis.net