By: Trisha Billiones
Source: ABS-CBN News
MANILA – Relief and alarm were the two reactions of former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque when he heard of the graft conviction handed to former First Lady Imelda Marcos, he said Monday.
He said he was relieved that “at least there’s a historical pronouncement that certain crimes were committed during the Marcos administration,” but he was also alarmed that it took 27 years before a court convicted a member of the family.
“It’s unfair both to the complainant, the people of the Philippines, and the accused to stand trial for 27 years given the constitutional precept that people have the right to speedy trial. It shows that we have a very serious problem with our legal system,” he told ANC’s Headstart.
“You cannot call yourself a civilized society and have to wait 27 years before a decision is rendered by the court,” he said.
As the country remembers the 9 years since Maguindanao massacre, where dozens were killed, including several members of the media, Roque, whose law firm represent some of the victims, said the time for prosecution should be shortened.
“Are we saying it will take the same period of time, 27 years, before we can get a conviction? It cannot be,” he said.
Roque, who is running for the Senate, said the solution is to return to the “inquisitorial system,” where the judges gather evidence to be able to resolve the controversy “at the soonest time possible.”
Mrs. Marcos, widow of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was found guilty of 7 counts of graft for funneling public funds to overseas bank accounts.