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‘Di na mahahabol: Sandiganbayan acquits Imelda of graft in firm’s ops because Ferdinand Marcos was boss

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The Sandiganbayan has cleared former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos of graft in one of the foundations she was accused of having financial interests in because it was her husband, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, calling the shots.

In a 70-page ruling, the Sandiganbayan said the prosecution failed to back up its allegation that Imelda unlawfully acquired financial and pecuniary interest in Asian Reliability Company Inc. (ARCI)

A review of the evidence, however, showed it was Ferdinand “who personally participated in the management, control and direction of the affairs or ARCI.”

The court said that while Imelda indeed had financial interests in ARCI as Ferdinand’s wife, there was insufficient evidence about her active participation in the foundation’s affairs.

“There is no positive act on her part that is shown to sustain her alleged management or administration of ARCI,” the Sandiganbayan said.

The anti-graft court also said Imelda cannot be held liable for graft– as charged by the prosecution– because she meddled in application for a $25-million loan from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in 1980.

Rather, the anti-graft court said what Imelda should have been charged with was a violation of Article VIII, Section 11 of the 1973 Constitution, which prohibits the intervention “in any manner before any office of the government for his pecuniary benefit.”

The Sandiganbayan said Imelda’s intervention in having the loan approved could not be interpreted as an act of management.

The court said Imelda must be presumed innocent regarding ARCI’s affairs until there’s proof she’s guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

“Where there is no moral certainty as to their guilt, they must be acquitted even though their innocence may be questionable,” it said.