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Accountability knows no age: Diokno says Imelda Marcos must be jailed

MANILA – Jailing former First Lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos is important to show people that anyone, regardless of social status, can be held accountable, the son of martial law victim Jose “Pepe” Diokno said Monday.

Jose Manual “Chel” Diokno said he believes that age should not be an excuse to escape accountability, especially for influential people like the 89-year-old Marcos who has been convicted for 7 counts of graft.

“I think that age should not be an obstacle to accountability. What matters really is when she committed the crime, and that wasn’t when she was 89 years old. That’s what should count and that’s what the law recognizes,” he told ANC.

“There should be jail time, I believe, because there has to be… The people have to see that anyone can be held accountable whether rich or poor,” added Diokno, who is running for senator against Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos.

The Sandiganbayan 5th Division has already ordered the arrest of Mrs. Marcos who was sentenced to imprisonment of 6 years and 1 month to 11 years for each of the 7 counts, with perpetual disqualification from public office.

But Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said it will consider the age and health of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos’ widow when it comes to her looming arrest.

The PNP “will accord the same respect” to Marcos as it did with Senator Antonio Trillanes, who was briefly taken into police custody last September in connection with a failed uprising in 2007, said Albayalde.

“Age may be an issue as far as commutation of sentence is concerned but not for purposes of conviction and sentence. The problem that we have in the justice system is that for most of our people, it’s not equal,” Diokno stressed.

Mrs. Marcos is joining the gubernatorial race in Ilocos Norte, aiming to replace her daughter Imee in the position. The younger Marcos, meanwhile, will be running for senator for the first time in the 2019 elections.

The Marcos family’s ill-gotten wealth is estimated to reach between US$5 billion to US$10 billion, with “the bulk of it being deposited and hidden abroad,” according to the Philippine Commission on Good Government.

The government has recovered a total of P170 billion in the past 30 years.