By Raïssa Robles
If you still don’t believe that behind the handsome faces of the Marcos family lurks a dark cynical secret, please read my latest piece on how the long arm of the law finally caught up with Imelda Marcos.
Sometimes, I get it. To many millennials who do not know what she and her husband did to the country, Imelda comes across as some wacky, lovable lola who dotes on her children and apo.
She has long played on people’s emotions. That is her skill.
But please, start asking yourself how billions of dollars—including those in Swiss accounts —ended up with the family when:
1) Not one of them has ever been a businessman;
2) Not one of them has ever been a professional boxer or movie star;
3) Not one of them has ever been CEO/owner of a top 1,000 corporation: and
3) Neither Imelda nor Ferdinand Marcos inherited great wealth;
4) Both Ferdinand and Imelda were employed by the government all of their working life and you know how measly the government salary is.
In my piece on Imelda which South China Morning Post (HK) published this weekend, I try to explain the evidence that was used to convict Imelda Marcos of graft. Ok GRAND THEFT. And why this is not just some hate thing by the dilawans.
The SCMP feature is but a fraction of the entire story of how a couple stole our very future, because a large part of that money was actually stolen from the Philippine Treasury.
And how the very trustees who helped the Marcos couple set up their secret Swiss accounts eventually ratted on them to Swiss authorities.
At the end of the piece, I quote what former Presidential Commission on Good Government Commissioner (PCGG) Ruben Carranza said about the need to investigate Imee Marcos for helping to conceal the loot.
Carranza was once sued by Imelda Marcos for libel for calling Ferdinand a thief and a dictator. He also called them “a family of thieves”. The conviction shows he was right.
Here’s how my SCMP piece starts:
HOW THE LAW CAUGHT UP WITH THE PHILIPPINES’ IMELDA MARCOS AND HER STOLEN MILLIONS
♦ Marcos’s conviction on of seven counts of graft for laundering US$231m is unprecedented and provides a glimpse into the gilded lives of the former Philippine first lady and her husband, Ferdinand
♦ During their time in power, the couple was raiding the treasury, collecting kickbacks and earning from secretly owned private corporations, then laundering funds into Swiss bank accounts
BY RAISSA ROBLES
17 NOV 2018
When a Philippine court sentenced former First Lady Imelda Marcos to 77 years in jail for corruption, her lawyer was taken ill, but not Imelda. She simply shrugged off the verdict handed down on November 9 and went partying that night. Her daughter Imee was holding her 63rd birthday party with guests that included President Rodrigo Duterte’s politically powerful daughter, Sara, who is also the mayor of Davao, and former presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Arroyo.
None of the guests hesitated to be photographed with the 89-year-old felon, Imelda. In fact, Senator Cynthia Villar quipped that the verdict was “bad timing” indeed, coinciding with Imee’s birthday. Villar, spouse of the second-wealthiest man in the country, had reason to complain. After all, the couple’s Nacionalista Party had just fielded Imee to run for the Senate next year.
The fact that she partied but violated court rules by not appearing during her sentencing was not lost on Associate Justice Rafael Lagos, whose division will now have to decide whether she goes directly to jail or continues to enjoy “provisional liberty” while she appeals the unanimous decision.
That Marcos was convicted of seven counts of graft for laundering over US$231 million through her secret Swiss accounts is unprecedented. It yanks wide open a window into the alternative world that Imelda and her husband, Ferdinand, once inhabited.
While Ferdinand was busy building “a New Society”, giving the military free rein to torture and kill thousands to keep him in power (according to an equally historic decision penned by Judge Manuel Real of the US District Court of Hawaii awarding damages to the regime’s human rights victims), Imelda bewitched the masses with her statuesque beauty and arts and culture projects evoking “the true, the good and the beautiful”.
Unknown to the nation then, the conjugal dictatorship was busy raiding the treasury, collecting kickbacks and earning from secretly owned private corporations, then laundering funds into numbered Swiss bank accounts. As Imelda Marcos once bragged to the Daily Inquirer newspaper: “We practically own everything in the Philippines.”
In court, she has refused to give any proof of ownership yet insisted everything was legally acquired.
The seven criminal cases that led to Imelda’s conviction are but a fraction of the 38 civil lawsuits, 78 criminal lawsuits and one forfeiture case filed against her in 1991 before the Sandiganbayan court. She has a total of 415 co-defendants in these cases, according to Associate Justice Mary-Ann Corpus-Manalac, who wrote the 70-page ruling.
HOW THE ACCOUNTS WERE SET UP
The problem facing prosecutors then was how to pin charges on Imelda for funneling money to Switzerland and diverting part of that to buy prime properties in New York, when these had nothing to do with her official acts as the second most powerful person in the country. Ferdinand had created a Cabinet post for her as Minister of Human Settlements and also made her Governor of Metro Manila.
So that you can more clearly understand how Imelda did it, I have provided copies of bank documents that Imelda signed, for the story.