Palace: If Imelda gets jailed, Duterte will just visit her
SINGAPORE – President Rodrigo Duterte will not interfere with the graft conviction of former first lady Imelda Marcos and may just visit the 89-year old widow of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos if she goes to jail.
“He will not interfere. This is a different kind of President. He does not interfere when it comes to cases like that,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters in an early morning press briefing here on Thursday.
“Let the courts decide because first of all it is not yet final,” Panelo added.
On November 9, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division found the Ilocos Norte representative guilty in seven graft cases filed against her from 1991 to 1995 in connection with Swiss foundations she and the former president established and used to stash more than $200 million abroad.
Despite her conviction, the antigraft court has deferred her arrest after the camp of the former first lady filed a motion to avail of legal remedies.
Closeness to Duterte
Human rights groups and martial law victims have raised concerns that Mrs. Marcos would not be jailed not only because of her age but also with her closeness to the President.
But Panelo allayed the fears of the public.
“You know, the closeness they are talking about is only perceived. From how I know the President, he is not affected by closeness,” Panelo said.
“I mean, kaibigan ka niya, pag may kailangan ka, tutulungan ka niya pero hanggang doon na lang ‘yun. Halimbawa nakulong ka, bibisitahin kita, Parang ganoon. Galit siya sa mga nagva-violate ng law,” he added.
Duterte has been a known friend of the Marcos family.
His decision to allow the burial of former president Marcos at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani has sparked condemnation from human rights groups and martial law victims. /cbb
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