‘No more revising history,’ says historian on Imelda Marcos conviction

Former Philippine first lady and now congresswoman Imelda Marcos is assisted to her car after visiting the tomb of former Philippine president and late dictator Ferdinand Marcos on National Heroes' Day at the Heroes Cemetery in Manila on August 28, 2017. - National Heroes Day commemorates the beginning of the "Cry of Pugad Lawin", the fight for independence from Spain by Filipino revolutionaries led by Andres Bonifacio. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)

Even if ex-first lady Imelda Marcos wasn’t jailed for graft, her conviction meant she or her family could no longer revise history, a historian said on Friday.

Maria Serena Diokno, former National Historical Commission of the Philippines chair, said she considered Imelda’s conviction as just a “tiny speck” in what the Marcos family had to pay for abuses committed during their more than 20-year reign in the country.

Diokno, daughter of the late senator and human rights stalwart Jose Diokno, said she, too, didn’t believe Imelda would be sent to jail.

“Even if she doesn’t end up in jail, she will not be able to escape this fact — today, it has been cemented in history that Imelda is a thief,” Diokno said.

Myth

“Try as they might, they will not be able to revise history anymore,” she said.

The 15th Division of the antigraft court Sandiganbayan on Friday ruled Imelda to be guilty of seven counts of graft for setting up Swiss-based foundations, through which she and the Marcoses funneled money.

She was sentenced to up to 11 years in jail for each count.

Diokno said while the decision was not likely to be enforced, it was “a symbol of justice and of joy.”

The conviction, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno said, “destroys the myth that their family has been perpetuating for a long time” about how good the Marcoses had been for the country.

“Contrary to what they have been saying, their era was not a period of beauty and development, but one that was marked by large-scale corruption,” Chel said.

House opposition member Rep. Edcel Lagman said the conviction was just judicial confirmation of corruption perpetrated by the Marcoses and their cronies during martial law.

The possible deferment of prison term, due to Imelda’s old age, he added, “does not diminish guilt.” —With a report from Jerome Aning

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