‘Justice’ juxtaposed: Imelda Marcos and other elderly suspects

November 14, 2018 - 12:19 PM
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Imelda Marcos' pension
Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos holds two checks she received from the Department of National Defense in Manila, Nov. 7, 2001. The Philippine government posthumously awarded about $900 in pension payments to dictator Ferdinand Marcos, whom it has accused of plundering hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy during his rule. (Reuters/Erik de Castro, file)

As the country awaits the arrest of Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos after she was found guilty of seven counts of graft she committed while being first lady to dictator Ferdinand Marcos, recent cases of senior citizens being jailed without considerations surfaced on social media.

Previously, at least three individuals and 41 members of the urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) were arrested and brought to jail under considerably lighter crimes than what Marcos had committed.

Some Filipinos on social media compared the treatment of the justice system and security personnel toward Marcos against that of elderly suspects and criminals.

The chocolate thief

Ricardo Castro in February 2012 was jailed for forgetting to pay a bag of chocolates worth 36 pesos in a grocery store in Manila. He was 79-years-old.

Reports note that a security guard from the grocery store noticed Castro walking out of the establishment with a conspicuous bulge on his back pants pocket.

When Castro was frisked by the guard, the latter found a bag of chocolates and turned the old man over to police custody.

Then-SPO2 Cody Carmelo of the Manila Police District Moriones Tondo Station 2 said that Castro offered to pay for the bag of chocolates.

Apparently, the old man was preoccupied that time since he was thinking of his daughter who was suffering from stage-three cervical cancer.

Nevertheless, it caused him to spent two nights in jail.

The trespassers

Some 41 members of the urban poor group Kadamay were arrested in April 2017 for attempting to reoccupy a property after they have been evicted.

All of them were between 64 to 88 years-old.

Prior to Kadamay’s settlement in state properties, they were residing on sidewalks. This was after the Metro Manila Development Authority ordered them to vacate their makeshift homes in informal villages.

Kadamay Chairperson Gloria Arellano said the accused reoccupied the land after nine months when they saw no traces of projects being constructed in the area.

READ: Kadamay stages rally, storms QC hall

The Kadamay members were detained in the headquarters of the Quezon City Police Department for nine days over trespassing and coercion charges.

Person behind bars
Senior citizens were previously arrested without considerations on their old age. (Pilipino Star Ngayon/File photo)

The rapist

Gregorio Quijano in June 2018 was arrested after he raped a student two times in Bantayan, Cebu.

The 67-year-old threatened to end the student’s life if she refused to subject to his demands.

Bantayan Police Chief Inspector Florendo Fajardo said that the student had ceased going to school out of fear.

Quijano will serve at least 30 years in prison for the offense.

The alleged murderer

Flaviana Sagapsapan in August 2018 was jailed for plotting to kill her own son with her now-deceased husband because of a land dispute.

Reports note that the 94-year-old woman allegedly hired two members of a gun-for-hire group to do the deed.

The police officials of Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte charged her with parricide, a case that merits her at least 30 years in prison.

The case of Imelda 

Imelda Marcos, an 82-year-old woman, was charged with committing seven counts of graft for maintaining Swiss-based foundations that were created for her family’s “private benefit.”

An excerpt of the court’s decision reads:

“Though named as a foundation, the evidence shows that these entities were put up primarily for the entrepreneurial activity of opening bank accounts and deposits, transferring funds, earning interests and even profit from investment, for the private benefit of the Marcos family as beneficiaries.”

Despite the order for her to serve 6 to 10 years of jail sentence in each graft count, Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde remarked that the police will consider Marcos’ “old age” in light of the expected arrest. He said:

“We have to take into consideration may edad na kasi. In any arrest or anybody for that matter, that has to be taken [into] consideration, the age, the health, alam naman natin na andyan siya.”

“The former first lady is a very… hindi naman natin sabihin… baka magalit satin na matanda pero may edad na kasi.”

Many Filipinos, particularly lawmakers, were not amused by his statement.

READ: Old age? Health? The real reason why Imelda Marcos has yet to be arrested

Sen. Francis Escudero remarked that the PNP chief is not in a position to make such comments since the police are “supposed to either implement the law or to obey orders of the court.”

The PNP walked back Albayalde’s statement the day after and said that the police chief meant they will consider Marcos’ age and overall health in how they will “prepare and execute the arrest.”