Sunday , August 1 2021

Dimensions of impunity – Bulatlat

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The Filipinos were aware of the record-breaking seizure of the public treasury by the Marcos cleptocracy which sparked the Sandiganbayan's conviction about Imelda Marcos about seven counts of corruption. They have lost hope that one of these funds will be transferred to Swiss bank accounts, real estate, and jewelry and art collections in Bern, Paris and other world capitals to be restored, or that all forms of legal retribution against thieves will come, but have heartened by the corruption court decision 27 years after the charges were brought against the Marcos family matriarch.

Imelda Marcos is of course a former First Lady, currently a member of Congress, and in line to replace, through the 2019 election and by the way the dynasty destroyed this country, her daughter Imee as governor of Ilocos Norte.

The 15th anti-corruption division sentenced 89-year-old widow Ferdinand Marcos to imprisonment from six to eleven years for each graft count that was found guilty of him. If the sentence was ever done, he would spend at least 42 years in prison – a possibility that, unless he lived for 131 years, it seemed impossible. But there were other reasons besides his age which made him doubt that he would ever serve that sentence.

As alleged by a complaint against him in 1992, he was found to have committed a total of $ 200 million in bank transfers to seven Swiss foundations for his own creation during his tenure as Governor of Metro Manila, a dictator-husband post specifically for him.

But like most murderers and all masterminds in the murder of journalists; the police and guards claimed responsibility for tens of thousands of extrajudicial killings of suspected perpetrators and drug users; military thugs and their paramilitary junior partners who are responsible for killing Lumad leaders, farmers, workers, human rights defenders, people lawyers, judges, political activists, and local reformist officials; forgiven but forgiven looters still rule in government; well-placed drug lords and legs at the Customs Bureau who regularly smuggle billions of pesos of drugs domestically; capitalist government bureaucrats and criminals whose access to expensive lawyers allows them to escape prosecution; and a handful of wealthy and well-connected people from this country who have killed and robbed their way to the top of the bureaucracy – like them, it is almost certain that he would not spend a day or night in any state of hell for the poor.

If he has ever been arrested at all, chances are he will be detained in some government facilities equipped with facilities that are filled with comfort, or in the comfort of a high-class hospital suite. But even that is not possible. Not only because, his beliefs were not final, he could still submit a motion for a review before the Sandiganbayan. Or because he can also appeal to the Supreme Court, the current composition and mindset that does not encourage faith in the so-called justice system.

Already there was an attempt to keep him away from prison. Just hours after the decision was announced on November 9, its allies Senator Cynthia Villar, who ran for senator with Imee Marcos, said that Imelda Marcos's old age must be a militant factor in his arrest, with PNP then echoing the same sentiments. In countries with "humanitarian" considerations only for large bureaucrats accused of crimes such as seizure and corruption, it is almost certain that he will escape prison on the basis of the hoore reason.

We have seen some in the past. There were extraordinary examples of former Marcos partners and Juan Ponce Enrile officials, who were free on bail taking into account their age, but who seemed strong enough to appear in media interviews and energetic enough to once again run for Senate membership.

Like the mayor of Manila and former president Joseph Estrada, who was a proven guilty robber, Imelda Marcos can also be forgiven, must, by a miracle, persevere. Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo has stated that Malacañang respected the decision, but because all countries must know now, there is no word from the Palace that is truly valuable. President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly pointed out that he can modify or even oppose whatever his subordinates say. He himself is also known for saying one thing today and another tomorrow, and for doing something he said he would not do – and for not doing something he said he would do.

What is avoided and these reasons are impunity: liberation from punishment for people who are rich, powerful and people who have good connections, who are part of the culture – how to do things – from this suffering country. This is not a unique characteristic of the current regime, but has been part of the reality of the Philippines for decades.

Already in its current use in the field of conflict on the planet, and descriptive of how it has become a rule for journalist killers in various countries, the phrase "culture of impunity" was first used in 2003 by the New York-based press. Commission on the freedom of control group to Protect Journalists (CPJ) to describe how the murderers of journalists in the Philippines and the mastermind behind them had escaped punishment since the Marcos period.

But the phrase does not only apply to the fact that it has become normal for journalist killers to escape punishment in what is accepted for democratic governance in the Philippines. This also applies to the legions of powerful payment criminals and criminals who have made justice in this country difficult to understand, problematic and even dangerous, such as the case of lawyers and human rights defenders who have been threatened, harassed and killed to defend the poor and marginalized repeatedly indicated.

Although there are no military and police personnel, paramilitaries, dynasties, warlords, local tyrants and land usurpers who are responsible for even the most cruel, most brutal and inhumane crimes have been punished or even prosecuted, leaders and supporters, and poor people and those who are marginalized – farmers, workers, indigenous people – are often accused and accused of the most serious crimes, including murder, illegal possession of firearms, kidnapping, etc. as a substitute for their real "violations": defending the rights of the poor and their right to life, legal process and justice.

The term "double standard" has been used to label it, but it does not adequately describe what has happened in this country since the killers of Andres Bonifacio and Antonio Luna managed to escape murder more than a century ago. What it is, is exactly that – the culture of impunity which, in the case of Marcos and the like, frees them from accountability for any crime, anomaly, or ordinary violation of the standards of civilized behavior that should guide true human society. .

The only booby entertainment – Imelda Marcos's belief has been made possible is his contribution to the necessity of fighting the Marcos family's efforts to boost anger which is a martial law. This should help convince even the most ignorant – but do not hold your breath waiting – that it is a period of violence, looting and theft of unprecedented state resources, and conspiracies planned in advance of the future.

There are not many prizes, and most can be expected in the current situation. But nothing is eternal, and if history is any guide, this must also pass, and the day of reckoning – impunity will end – even even on these sad islands.

Luis V. Teodoro is on Facebook and Twitter (@luisteodoro). The views expressed in Vantage Point are their own and do not represent the views of the Center for Freedom and Media Responsibility.

Published in the Business World
November 15, 2018

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