Rep. Gary Alejano voices doubt Imelda will go to jail

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No to the ‘traditional rules’ of politics. ‘We go directly to the people.’ The FilAm Photos

No to the ‘traditional rules’ of politics. ‘We go direct to the people.’ The FilAm Photos

By Cristina Dc Pastor

Rep. Gary Alejano said Imelda Marcos should be “held accountable” for corruption based on a ruling handed down by the anti-graft Sandiganbayan. He also expressed skepticism Marcos would go to jail because the Philippine court system is notorious for frivolous delaying tactics by lawyers of prominent people.

“I don’t think she will go to jail,” said Alejano, a party-list member of the House of Representatives. “All she has to do is to appeal the ruling, and that will take again several years.”

Imelda was found guilty of seven counts of graft by the Sandiganbayan’s 5th Division and faces imprisonment of anywhere from six years to 11 years for each count.

Alejano, who is a candidate for the Senate in the May 13, 2019 general elections, was in the U.S. on November 2 to induct the officers of the Samahang Magdalo Los Angeles chapter. From L.A., he traveled to San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York to “brief the Filipino community on what’s happening in the country.”

“We have a weak sense of history,” Alejano told The FilAm on arriving in New York. “We keep repeating our mistakes. Ulit-ulit lang tayo. Those who were charged with plunder are back. It’s a vicious cycle. We don’t learn our lessons.”

Insisting he has nothing personal against the Marcoses, he however believes atrocities and corruption were committed when they were in power. “After 30 years of dictatorship it seems we’re sliding back to dictatorship,” he said.

Some members of the media and community leaders who listened to Alejano.

Some members of the media and community leaders who listened to Alejano.

Alejano shares a political party, Samahang Magdalo, with opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes, a vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte. Both led a military coup against former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2003 for alleged “rampant corruption.” They used the “Magdalo” insignia, calling themselves the “New Katipuneros.” They were arrested and served time – seven and a half years for now retired Navy officer Trillanes, and seven years for Alejano, a former Marine captain. Trillanes made history by being elected to the Senate while in jail. Alejano became a party-list representative under Samahang Magdalo. As a representative, he has filed 100 House bills and authored 31 resolutions. He is now eyeing the Senate as a candidate of the opposition coalition between the Liberal Party and Samahang Magdalo.

“I’m optimistic, we have deep faith in God,” he said of his chances, speaking to supporters from New York and Connecticut who met with him at his NYC hotel. “When we started, we believe we have a purpose for the country. The people are the subject of our service. Kung ayaw nila, wala tayo magagawa. If they like Duterte, then they get the kind of government they deserve.”

As politicians, he said the Magdalo leaders vowed not to “play the traditional rules of the game.”

“We go direct to the people. We won’t negotiate with politicians, with big people, we don’t do that,” he said.

At the same time, he recognizes that he needs to raise awareness of who he is because “because people won’t vote for somebody they don’t know.” He said their campaign resources will come mostly from the grassroots and from overseas Filipino workers. “It is sometimes expensive to raise awareness.”

Other members of the opposition coalition aside from Alejano are former presidential candidate Mar Roxas, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, former Quezon representative Erin Tañada, women’s rights advocate Samira Gutoc, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, and Romulo Macalintal, the lawyer of Vice President Leni Robredo in the election case against Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.

© The FilAm 2018

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