Aging is sometimes positive

Imelda Romualdez Marcos, former first lady, “conjugal partner” of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, and now congresswoman, is found guilty by the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan last week in seven cases and sentenced her to six to 11 years in prison for each case as well as perpetually disqualified her from holding public office. She was convicted for using her Cabinet position in managing several Swiss foundations from 1968 to 1986.

The maximum years of imprisonment for the former “Iron Lady”, reminiscent of Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, would be 77 years. If she were to live by then she would be 171 years old.

But it seems the age factor is working positive for her. Even Senator Panfilo Lacson has this to say: “Age, too, seems to be on Mrs. Marcos’ side.” She can avail of legal remedy to delay the issuance of an arrest order against her.

There is a very slim doubt the Sandiganbayan has erred in its decision. It has earned a high reputation for deciding cases judiciously and justly. But it is part of the legal norms that the decision can still be brought to the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court for final dispensation. Finding the truth has to be exhausted and has to end in the final body.

The Marcoses have been trying to change the narratives regarding the declaration of Martial Law in 1972. They used their money, influence, and connections to paint good the image of the conjugal dictatorship and what it had done to the Filipino people and to the Moros especially. Thousands of Moros were massacred from Manili, Carmen, North Cotabato, to Malisbeng in Palembang in Sultan Kudarat, to Patikul and Pata Island, both in Sulu, and to Tictapul in Zamboanga City. There were many more other massacres in other areas.

Of course, Imelda Marcos did not participate directly in those crimes, but those evils were committed by her husband’s martial law administration. We are tempted to believe that she must have restrained her husband or those around him to stop the carnage, but we have no evidence.

It is impossible to give justice to all these victims, but a simple way to ease the pain a little in the hearts of the victims’ descendants is an acceptance of the wrongdoing. We do not know if Imelda Marcos or former Senator Bongbong Marcos or Imee Marcos have that courage to do so for the sake of her husband and father, respectively. The Marcoses are admittedly blessed with intelligence, but are they also blessed with moral uprightness?

There is a beautiful quotation that perhaps suits the situation: “It takes wisdom to know one’s fault but it takes greatness to admit them.”