MANILA — Political prisoners during the martial law era gave an unusual "greeting" to the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' widow Imelda Marcos, who is celebrating her 92nd birthday.
In a statement, Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) said "the only greeting that Imelda Marcos will receive from us is our wish for her arrest as soon as possible."
"As she roams freely in her lavish mansion and celebrates her birthday in her extravagant fashion, we will always be reminded of her and her family's crimes and plunder of the nation's coffers," said Rosalia Bacarra, the group's secretary general.
"We will never falter to demand and fight for justice and accountability. Jail Imelda now," she added.
In 2018, the Sandiganbayan 5th Division found Marcos guilty in 7 counts of graft for using her Cabinet position to maintain Swiss bank accounts during her husband's presidency and dictatorship from 1965 to 1986. She was sentenced to imprisonment of not less than 42 years – six to 11 years for each count of graft.
Almost 3 years since her conviction, however, Marcos has yet to serve any prison time after the Sandiganbayan allowed her to post bail pending her appeal.
According to SELDA, the failure to enforce the penalties of Marcos' conviction was "very frustrating." The group also lamented that sick and old political prisoners are languishing in Philippine jails and are not afforded similar legal remedies.
"It's very frustrating to see her free... Meanwhile, a lot of sick and elderly political prisoners are still lamentably suffering behind bars, despite the efforts to release them under humanitarian grounds. Clearly, this shows how the filthy rich can get away with anything under the country's current judicial system," Bacarra said.
Netizens on Twitter likewise posted several "jail Imelda" comments on Bongbong Marcos' post, which had a greeting for his mother.
The Marcos family’s ill-gotten wealth “is estimated between US$5 billion to US$10 billion, the bulk of it being deposited and hidden abroad,” according to the Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG).
The government has recovered only a total of P170 billion in the past 30 years.