Former first lady Imelda Marcos last week paid a bail bond of P150,000 for her temporary liberty after being found guilty of seven counts of graft.
The graft charges were based on a scheme involving Marcos’ setting up of Swiss foundations for a score of transactions “for private benefit,” according to anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.
While she faces arrest, the bail effectively delays six to 11 years of jail time. The judgment and sentence were only meted out earlier this month for a case that already lingered for 26 years.
An economist-statistician on Twitter pointed out that the bail—while larger than in most cases—is minuscule compared to the estimated $200 million or P10.5 billion in earnings from the illegal scheme.
Yung perang ninakaw ni Imelda ayon sa kaso niya sa Sandiganbayan: P10,600,000,000.*
Yung piyansang binayad niya para sa pansamantalang paglaya: P150,000.
Porsiyento ng piyansa sa nakaw na yaman: 0.001%.
*Di pa kasama rito ang nilago ng pera dahil sa interes (malaki iyon). https://t.co/Pr35mRY62y
— JC Punongbayan (@jcpunongbayan) November 16, 2018
A new case has to be filed to recover this P10.5 billion in earnings Marcos tucked away. Considering the slow pace of the legal process, the government will not be seizing the accounts anytime soon.
The distant prospect of Imelda Marcos’ imprisonment
The 89-year-old Mrs. Marcos, the other half of what has been known as a “conjugal dictatorship” in the 1970s and early 1980s, is expected to exhaust legal measures to postpone a final decision for years.
And with her age and supposed state of health, she is yet to see a day behind bars. And even if she does, she could enjoy a presidential pardon given her existing political alliances and network, The Economist observed.
The Philippine National Police itself argued that her age will be a factor in how it will approach her arrest.
“The former First Lady hindi naman natin siya… baka magalit sa atin ang matanda. May edad na kasi. Unang-una, we have to take into consideration the edad, ‘yung age… In any arrest, that has to be taken into consideration, ‘yung health, the age,” said police chief Oscar Albayalde.
In the event that she does get arrested, it is also unlikely she will languish in a regular jail with poor facilities. The police are reportedly preparing a place at their headquarters’ custodial center in Quezon City where high-profile personalities, including politicians, are still awaiting judgment on cases against them.