On the recent Sandiganbayan decision on the case of Imelda Marcos

At first glance, the recent Sandiganbayan decision granting bail and providing remedies for Imelda Marcos, despite their guilty verdict on the graft charges against her, may seem like an act that respects the right to due process. But placed in a context where due process is a concept repeatedly tampled by the Duterte regime, the remedies granted to Imelda Marcos by the Sandiganbayan reek of outrageous privilege or entitlement and plain double standard given to persons who have bled the country’s coffers dry. 

Indeed, the laws are in your favor when you have money and power, especially when you’re a world class plunderer and murderer like the Marcoses. The absurdity in the current laws and procedures enable Imelda Marcos to file bail of PhP300,000 despite a conviction on charges of skimming billions from public funds, while the same set of laws impose PhP1.4 million bail for Satur Ocampo, France Castro, and twelve others on purely fabricated charges of child abuse. The same set of laws and procedures enable Imelda Marcos to avoid jail time, by giving her a chance to appeal the conviction ruling in the Supreme Court where she can almost surely get a favorable decision with a pro-Marcos Chief Justice, while the same set of laws dictate that political prisoners including peace advocate Vicente Ladlad should remain detained on fabricated charges based on planted evidence. 

Indeed, under Duterte, the so-called rule of law has become a travesty to the moral and political understanding of human rights and people’s rights. It has become the rule of those who break and distort the laws for their greedy, power-hungry interests.