MANILA -- Martial law victims on Monday warned against a possible pardon on former First Lady Imelda Marcos, saying her conviction of graft should even prompt the government to move the remains of her late husband out of the heroes’ cemetery.
An anti-graft court on Friday sentenced the 89-year-old Marcos to prison for siphoning off an estimated $200 million in public money in the 1970s, in a landmark ruling welcomed by human rights activists.
The public should now demand that the body of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos be exhumed from the Libingan ng mga Bayani as a “logical sequel” to the court decision, said former Commission on Human Rights chief Loretta Ann Rosales.
"I think it is only logical, not because bengatibo tayo or any of that sort, but we have to be true to ourselves and we have to be true to generations hereafter," she told ABS-CBN News.
The Supreme Court earlier rejected a petition to exhume Ferdinand Marcos’ remains, upholding its ruling that he was qualified for burial at the heroes’ cemetery.
Martial law victim Fides Lim cited the “irony” of an anti-graft court convicting Imelda Marcos but her late husband was buried in the company of others considered as heroes.
“Isn’t that the greatest irony of our times? That’s why the Philippines never learns its lessons,” she told ANC’s Early Edition.
Marcos’ critics are now guarding against the possibility that the former first lady might be granted pardon by President Rodrigo Duterte when the conviction becomes final.
Malacañang earlier said that talk of pardon was premature and speculative.
But human rights lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno said it was a “very real concern,” noting that the grant of pardon “has been abused historically.”
A pardon on Imelda Marcos, he said, would “really give us a bad image, not only within the country, but even outside the country.”
“People will not swallow that very easily,” he told ANC.
“There has to be jail time...the people have to see that anyone can be held accountable, whether rich or poor.”