Other key issues need focus besides arrest of Imelda Marcos – Suarez
Other issues, such as the rise in unemployment with the holiday season nearing, are more important than the conviction and possible arrest of former first lady Imelda Marcos, Minority Floor Leader Rep. Danilo Suarez said on Wednesday.
“Kapag kinonvik mo ’yan, then focus and attention of the media will be centered [sa kanya]… Palagay ko mas importante itong about unemployment,” Suarez said in jest.
[When you convict her, then the focus and attention of the media will be centered on her… I thing unemployment is more imporant.]
Suarez was referring to the call of lawmakers for the government to accelerate its spending to counter the increasing adult joblessness recorded in the third quarter of 2018.
Turning serious, Suarez put down claims by critics that the issue was still important as the rule of then President Ferdinand Marcos allegedly contributed to the current state of the country’s economy.
“I ask you: Name me one case that were filed against the husband and wife for stealing money from the government,” he said. “I’m talking about appropriations, about certain aspects of government agencies wherein you steal money and you enrich yourself. ’Yon, grabe ’yon [That’s serious]. That’s corruption.”
“May pera sila. Pero ang point ko lang: Ang pinaggalingan, hindi ninakaw ang pera ng gobyerno. Kung paaano nila kinita ’yan – there were several legends and myths, story about gold. Ang dami na niyang unending stories. What if it’s true? Baka naman talagang may gold ‘yon?” Suarez said.
[They have money. My point is this: The money did not come from the government. How they got that –there were several legends and myths, story about gold. There are a lot of unending stories. What if it’s true?]
Last Nov. 9, the Fifth Division of the Sandiganbayan found the former first lady guilty, on seven counts, of graft for transferring funds to seven Swiss foundation while she was holding key position in government.
Her acts were violated the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, or Republic Act No. 3019.
According to Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr., a member of the minority bloc, people should not blame the Marcoses for things that happened decades after their rule.
“Instead of us blaming the past for what’s happening today, meron akong challenge sa ating economic managers: Subukan kaya nating gastusin ‘yong pera — increase government spending — and see in the next six months what happens,” Garbin said.
[Instead of us blaming the past for what’s happening today, I have a challenge for our economic managers: Why don’t we try to spend the money — increase government spending — and see in the next six months what happens.]
For Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza, people should be realistic in the issue of jailing the 89-year-old Marcos, citing other cases, such as that of former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
“We should be more realistic about life,” he said. “If Senator Enrile can be released on the basis of age and health, then the former first lady is also an elderly person: 89 siya [She’s already 89], and she’s not totally healthy.”
“The conviction is there, and that is already a milestone. Imagine, 32 years before it came upon,” he added.
However, Garbin clarified that the minority believed that not even elderly should be exempted from being imprisoned.
“Gusto lang namin sabihin na old age is not an exempting circumstance or a justifying circumstance to escape from any criminal liability,” Garbin said. “Siguro ‘yong sinasabi nila Minority Leader [Suarez] and ni Congressman Atienza is based on humanitarian reasons.”
[I only want to say that old age is not an exempting circumstance or a justifying circumstance. Maybe what Minority Leader Suarez and Congressman Atienza is saying is based on humanitarian reason.] /atm
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