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Sandiganbayan finds Imelda Marcos guilty of graft; orders arrest

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, 9 November 2018 12:21 PM

FILE PHOTO: Imelda Marcos

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division on Friday (November 9) ordered the arrest of former First Lady and Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Imelda Marcos after she was found guilty of seven counts of graft.

The anti-graft court sentenced the 89-year-old former First Lady to a minimum of six years to a maximum prison term of 11 years for each count of graft with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

The decision was in connection with a case filed in 1991 when Marcos was charged with 10 counts of graft for having financial interests in creating private institutions in Switzerland and maintaining Swiss bank accounts from 1978 to 1984 while still holding several positions in the government.

The case particularly referred to Marcos’ position as then Governor of Metro Manila and Minister of Human Settlements.

The anti-graft court, however, acquitted her in three graft cases.

Among the evidence presented by the prosecution was the sworn statement of former Solicitor General Frank Chavez detailing how the former First Lady utilized their Swiss foundations to amass millions of dollars in ill-gotten wealth.

The documents also included bank records and some hand-written letters of the Marcoses addressed to foreign banks.

“There were seven Swiss foundations that were created by the Marcoses. Doon pumapasok iyong mga foreign currencies. They’d close one, then they’d transfer doon sa isa. These seven foundations ay connected sa isa’t isa,” said prosecution member Atty. Rey Quilala.

The trial on the case is the longest in the anti-graft court’s history reaching nearly three decades or 26 years.

Marcos and her legal team did not attend the promulgation. The court said Marcos can post bail while appealing the conviction and has given her 30 days to explain her absence in the proceedings before the formal issuance of warrant of arrest.

“May remedies pa naman po si First Lady. If she avails for those remedies pwede pa rin siyang makatakbo..Pwede niyang iakyat sa Supreme Court kapag may nakita siyang grave abuse of discretion doon sa desisyon ng Sandiganbayan. Hindi pa ho siya final and executory,” Quilala explained.

“Kapag nagpakita naman siya sa court, pwedeng i-lift ang warrant of arrest,” he added.

In a statement issued later in the afternoon, Rep. Marcos confirmed that she received a copy of the anti-graft court’s decision.

She explained that her lawyer was in the hospital and so they were not able to attend the promulgation.

Nevertheless, she assured to appeal the decision by filing a motion for reconsideration.

“My Attorney of Record, Atty. Robert Sison, has been indisposed and is presently confined at the Asian Hospital. Justice Lolong Lazaro, who has previously appeared as counsel in this case, will act as my counsel in the interim. He is presently studying the decision and has advised us that he intends to file a Motion for Reconsideration,” the former First Lady said. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Casin)

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REPASO 2018: High-profile acquittal, conviction and Duterte’s anti-corruption drive

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, 31 December 2018 09:28 AM

 

(Left-Right) Former PCOO ASec. Mocha Uson, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, former Senator Bong Revilla and former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. UNTV News & Rescue

A number of big names made headlines this year in Philippine politics for their involvement in various controversies.

Mocha Uson

Celebrity blogger Esther Margaux Justiniano Uson a.k.a. Mocha Uson is among the most controversial personalities in Philippine politics in 2018.

Her appointment as Assistant Secretary to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) was a roller-coaster ride for a neophyte government official.

Uson drew flak over a number of controversial posts on her social media account such as the alleged inappropriate video on federalism with her blogger-friend Drew Olivar followed by another video which irked the deaf community.

Uson ended her short term in the Duterte Cabinet in October 2018 but vowed to continue on with her service to the public even as a private citizen.

After several denials, the former official signified her intention to re-enter politics as a party list representative.

Despite her exit from the government, Uson faces a number of charges at the Office of the Ombudsman such as violation of the Magna Carta for Disable Persons; Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees; and the Cybercrime Prevention Act due to her controversial posts and commentaries on social media.

Uson, on her part, said such criticisms will not hinder her from exposing what the people needs to know.

“Actually hanggang ngayon pa rin, may bashing, kritisismo, di naman po mawawala iyan. Pero iyan naman po ang sensyales na buhay na buhay po ang demokrasya sa bansa natin. Wala naman pong problema sa kritisimo basta po sa bawat kritisismo ay tumutulong din tayo sa lipunan, sa bansa natin,” the former assistant secretary said.

Commisioners Nicanor Faeldon and Isidro Lapeña

President Rodrigo Duterte again made a controversial move by re-appointing into government office former commissioners of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Nicanor Faeldon and Isidro Lapeña.

Under their respective terms in BOC, billions worth of shabu slipped passed the security screening of the agency which raised questions against their credibility.

Faeldon resigned over the P6.4B shabu shipment controversy in 2017 but he was re-appointed by the President as Deputy Administrator of the Office of the Civil Defense and later on this year as Chief of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

Lapeña, meanwhile, was criticized for the P6.8B worth of shabu shipment discovered inside four magnetic lifters in July. While Congress was probing the incident, the President reassigned Lapeña to the Technical Educations and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Meanwhile, several government officials were axed from their positions in 2018 due to issues of corruption.

Among them were Former Interior Secretary Ismael Sueño; Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jose Vicente Salazar; former Chairman of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor Terry Ridon; Dangerous Drugs Board Chairman Dionesio Santiago to name a few.

According to a political analyst Atty. James Villasis, President Duterte has made his anti-corruption policy clear especially that he is determined to expose in public those who he dismissed for corruption.

However, Villasis said the integrity of his campaign has been tainted for giving ‘so much favor’ to Faeldon and Lapeña.

Villasis added that the question still remains on whether or not a case is formally filed against the sacked officials.

“Ang nakikita kasi natin ngayon ay medyo hindi gaanong naho-hold into accountability ang mga public officials na kaniyang dinismiss. Kasi some of them are just transferred to some agencies or to another agency, and some of them just returned back to their private citizens’ life,” he said.

Meanwhile, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Greco Belgica believes otherwise.

“Fifty-four na po iyan, 54 officials. Lahat po ng tinanggal, iyun iba po kasi preventive suspension pending investigation. Iyong iba po waiting for decision ng pangulo pero iyong nadesisyunan na po ng Pangulo, nasa Ombudsman na po lahat,” Belgica explained.

“Ang may trabaho doon ay ang DOJ, Sila ang magpa-file noon. Siguro they’re still gathering evidence. Mahirap kasing mag-file ng wala kang ebidensya pa,” added Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV

In August, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation 572 declaring the amnesty granted to Trillanes as ‘void ab initio’ on grounds that the senator failed to prove that he applied for amnesty.

This prompted the Department of Justice to revive the cases of rebellion and coup d’ etat against Trillanes in connection with the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny and the 2007 Manila Pen siege.

The Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 ruled in favor of the prosecution and ordered the arrest of Trillanes for the charges of rebellion.

Trillanes was allowed P200,000 bail.

But the second court, Makati RTC Branch 148 denied the government’s petition for Trillanes’ arrest for the coup d’etat case filed against him.

The case remains closed until it is ordered reopened while Trillanes’ petition questioning Proclamation 572 is still pending in the Supreme Court.

 

Mugshot of Senator Antonio Trillanes during his booking procedure at Makati Police Station on September 25, 2018 | Photo courtesy of NCRPO

Former First lady, Ilocos 2nd District Cong. Imelda Marcos

The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division in November ordered the arrest of former First Lady and Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Imelda Marcos after she was found guilty of seven counts of graft in a trial considered as the longest in the anti-graft court’s history reaching nearly three decades or 26 years.

The anti-graft court sentenced the 89-year-old former First Lady to a minimum of six years to a maximum prison term of 11 years for each count of graft with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

However, Marcos was set free on bail of P150,000.

Former Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr.

Former Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr., meanwhile, walked free in the first week of December after the Sandiganbayan acquitted him of plunder in line with the P10-B ‘pork barrel’ scam, the first acquittal among the cases on the alleged misuse of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

However, the court did not clear him of the 16 counts of graft pending before the Sandiganbayan.

The anti-graft court allowed his temporary release on bail of P480,000.

Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan Special Division convicted alleged ‘pork barrel’ queen and mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and Revilla’s former aide Richard Cambe.

Napoles and Cambe were sentenced to ‘reclusion perpetua’ or 40 years imprisonment.

Former President now House Speaker Gloria Arroyo

Just before the year ends, The Pasay City Regional Trial Court acquitted Former President and House Speaker Gloria Arroyo of charges of electoral sabotage in connection with the 2007 midterm polls.

In an order signed December 17 and made public Friday (December 29), the court dismissed the case “for failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused Arroyo beyond reasonable doubt”.

The court also ordered the return of the P1 million pesos bail posted by Arroyo for her provisional liberty in 2012. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Imelda Marcos to appeal Sandiganbayan’s guilty verdict to SC

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, 27 November 2018 04:20 PM

FILE PHOTO: Imelda Marcos

MANILA, Philippines – Former first lady now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos is determined to bring Sandiganbayan’s guilty verdict to the Supreme Court (SC).

Marcos said they have already advised Sandiganbayan Fifth Division of her plan and have request the anti-graft court to send her records to the SC.

In November 9, the Sandiganbayan sentenced Marcos of up to 13 years in jail for each count of graft but she was set free after the anti-graft court allowed her bail amounting to P150,000. – UNTV News and Rescue

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‘Conviction is enough’ : Solons defend former first lady Imelda Marcos

by admin   |   Posted on Thursday, 15 November 2018 12:08 PM

FILE PHOTO: Philippines Former First Lady and Congresswoman Imelda Marcos waves to supporters as she takes part in the announcement of her son BongBong Marcos’ vice-presidential candidacy, in Manila Philippines October 10, 2015. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

MANILA, Philippines — Minority Leader Danilo Suarez shares the same sentiment with known human rights lawyer Atty. Rene Saguisag in his recent statement in connection with the conviction of Ilocos Norte 2nd District Rep. Imelda Marcos in 7 graft cases in Sandiganbayan.

Suarez is one of the congressmen who are against the arrest of Marcos.

“He [Atty. Rene Saguisag] said conviction is enough. It’s shameful enough that you are convicted already. He is somehow saying that there is no need to jail the former first lady. For me it’s … she is already 89 years old,” said Suarez.

According to Buhay party-list Rep Lito Atienza the age of congresswoman Marcos should be considered.

“If Sen. Enrile can be released on the basis of age and health then the former first lady is also an elderly person… she is 89 and she is not totally that healthy,” said Atienza.

But Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate opposed.

“Go to the National Bilibid Prison there are a lot of senior citizens and political prisoners there. Their cases have not been resolved until now. One of them died already inside the jail,” said Zarate.

Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan has deferred the issuance of a warrant of arrest against congresswoman Marcos.

This, after the Marcos camp filed a motion for leave of court to avail of possible remedies for the absence of Mrs. Marcos and her lawyer, Atty. Robert Sison, and further requested for a deferment of the issuance of a warrant.

The motion is set for hearing on Friday, November 16.

Zarate, expressed disappointment on the deferment of the issuance of the arrest warrant saying the victims of human rights violation under former President Ferdinand Marcos administration are waiting for this conviction for so long.

“We are calling to apply the law fairly we can see here that there are special treatment in the Marcos family,” said Zarate.

Congresswoman Marcos has not been attending any session in the House of Representatives since Monday. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

 

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