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    Grant of bail to Imelda undermines trust of poor Filipinos in the courts — VP Leni

    Vice President Leni Robredo raised concerns anew on Sunday over the temporary freedom given to former First Lady Imelda Marcos upon posting a P150,000 bail after being convicted for several counts of graft, saying this only bolsters the perception among Filipinos that only the rich and powerful could attain justice in the country.

    “Iyong binibigay na impression sa mga tao na kapag mayaman ka pala, kapag mataas na estado sa buhay, ganito na lang kadali. Kapag mahirap, napakasimpleng pagkakasala, iyong binubunong taon sa kulungan napakahaba,” VP Leni said via phone patch interview in her weekly radio show, BISErbisyong LENI, on RMN-DZXL 558.

    Citing her own experience representing poor clients as a public interest lawyer, VP Leni noted the stark difference between the harsh treatment of poor Filipinos facing prosecution and the apparent leniency shown to Mrs. Marcos. She reiterated that the bail set by the anti-graft court was a mere pittance compared to the billions of pesos the Marcos family stole from the Filipinos.

    “Oo, may hatol na tapos naka-bail pa. Tapos iyong bail, napakaliit considering na iyong amount barya lang ito sa kliyente. Ito, nakakasama ito, Ka Ely, ng loob…” VP Leni said. “Iyong mga mahihirap kahit 10,000 pesos lang, talagang—parang namamalimos. Namamalimos para lang ma-raise iyong perang iyon sa kakarampot na pagkakasala. Tapos ito, napakalaki ng pagkakasala, hindi man lang maramdaman iyong hirap ng pag-raise ng ganitong halaga.”

    The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division convicted the Ilocos Norte’s Second District Representative for maintaining and transferring $200 million to her private Swiss foundations along with her husband, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The Marcos children—former senator Bongbong Marcos, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, and Irene Marcos—were listed among the foundations’ beneficiaries.

    VP Leni also reiterated that it was “insulting” that Marcos cited poor health to skip her graft hearings but managed to attend a party on the same day of her conviction.

    “Insulto pa kasi hindi nag-attend ng conviction dahil daw may sakit. Pero same day noong conviction, nakita natin nagpa-party. May medical certificate na napakahaba ng listahan ng mga sakit pero iyong sakit na iyon, para lang maka-iwas—para maka-iwas dito sa legal processes pero kumakandidato pa nga bilang governor; nakakapasok pa nga sa Congress,” she said.

    “[K]ung hahayaan kasi siya to get away with it, ano iyong mensahe sa mga mahihirap? Na hindi pantay iyong hustisya?” VP Leni added.

    Posted in Press Releases on Nov 18, 2018