MANILA - It is a reminder of the Marcos family's plunder of the nation's wealth.
This was how opposition Liberal Party president Sen. Francis Pangilinan described the Sandiganbayan's conviction of Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, widow of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, for 7 counts of graft related to Swiss bank accounts she opened during her husband's regime.
"The Sandiganbayan conviction is a faithful reminder that the Marcoses have plundered the nation's wealth and have stolen from the people, no matter how much efforts to revise history are done by the Marcos family and their cohorts," Pangilinan said in a statement.
The Sandiganbayan 5th Division on Friday found the former first lady guilty of graft for using her position as Minister of Human Settlements to maintain Swiss bank accounts during her husband's rule. The court also ordered the arrest of the 89-year-old lawmaker.
The court sentenced Marcos to imprisonment of 6 years and a month to 11 years for each of the 7 counts, with perpetual disqualification from public office.
"We applaud the order for her arrest and her perpetual disqualification from holding public office, especially as she is running for governor of Ilocos Norte," he said.
Pangilinan urged the court to "give no special treatment to Mrs. Marcos" after her camp said that she would appeal the court ruling.
"Let us ensure that this people's win of justice becomes a reality. Let us work for a judicial system where no one is above the law," he said.
The Marcos dictatorship was marked by killings, human rights abuses, and the plunder of state coffers. The family was known to have amassed "$5 billion to US$10 billion" in wealth hidden overseas, according to the Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG).
The government has recovered a total of P170 billion over the past 30 years.
While still facing several cases for martial law abuses, the Marcoses have maintained loyal political following. Imelda Marcos is seeking to serve as governor of the family's bailiwick Ilocos Norte in next year's elections, when the post is vacated by her daughter Imee, who has launched a senatorial bid.