MANILA — Malacañang said on Sunday the concern raised by some analysts that President Rodrigo Duterte would grant pardon to former First Lady Imelda Marcos is “not only speculative but premature as well.”
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Marcos’ lawyers have stated that she will appeal before the Sandiganbayan 5th Division’s decision, which found her guilty of seven counts of graft for making bank transfers involving public funds to private foundations in Switzerland during her term as Metro Manila governor.
“The President has the constitutional authority to grant pardon to persons convicted by final judgment. It is not so in the case of Congresswoman Marcos, the decision of the anti-graft court not having attained finality,” Panelo said in a statement.
“Her lawyers have stated that she will avail of legal remedies available to her to reverse the decision from the same court or higher courts,” he added.
Panelo said Duterte would also consider the recommendation of the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) in granting pardon to convicts.
BPP is an office under the Department of Justice (DOJ), which looks into the records and studies the circumstances of a person in order to evaluate the person’s eligibility and entitlement for the President’s act of grace.
“As a matter of course and policy, the President, like his predecessors, weighs in all factors before exercising his right to grant clemencies,” Panelo said.
Panelo on Friday said Marcos’ graft conviction serves “as a good reminder to all public servants that public office is a public trust and that we are all accountable to the people we serve.”
He said public servants must carry out their duties with professionalism and integrity.
Panelo added that the Sandiganbayan’s decision proves also that the Philippines has a working and impartial justice system.
Marcos was charged with 10 counts of graft in 1991 for her alleged interests and participation in the management of some private foundations in Switzerland from 1978 to 1984.
The questionable foundations were the Vibur Foundation, Maler Establishment, Trinidad Foundation, Rayby Foundation, Palmy Foundation, Aguamina Foundation, and Avertina Foundation.
Marcos, a former minister of human settlements, Metro Manila governor, and member of the Interim Batasan Pambansa, was prohibited by law to take part in such businesses. PNA-northboundasia.com