IMELDA SUES PCGG OFFICIAL, NEWSPAPER EXECS FOR LIBEL

MAKATI CITY, OCTOBER 4, 2003 (STAR) By Evelyn Macairan  - For calling her late husband a thief and a dictator, former first lady Imelda Marcos filed a libel suit against a commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and newspaper executives.

"We only want the truth, because the truth is God," a teary-eyed Mrs. Marcos said yesterday morning as she filed the libel charges against PCGG commissioner Ruben Carranza at the Makati City Prosecutorís Office.

Accompanied by some 200 "loyalists" wearing red T-shirts, Mrs. Marcos also included in the list of respondents Makati City Rep. and Today publisher Teodoro Locsin Jr., reporter Estrella Torres, editor-in-chief Lourdes Molina-Fernandez, and a certain Estrella Ramos.

In a six-page affidavit, Mrs. Marcos referred to the article published in Today on Aug. 26 entitled "Marcoses hire Swiss lawyer to delay transfer of funds."

In the article, Carranza was reportedly quoted as saying that the Marcoses hired Swiss lawyer Patrick Foetish to delay the transfer of the US$683 million Marcos Swiss funds to the Philippine government. The lawyer is allegedly representing the Marcosesí dummy foundations, hoping to absolve them from any liabilities.

The paper allegedly also quoted Carranza as saying that former President Ferdinand Marcos was "a thief and a dictator, and here comes a lawyer (Foetish) saying they (the Marcoses) have nothing to do with the Swiss money."

In the complaint, Mrs. Marcos said the elements of libel, namely identification, defamatory and libelous dissemination and malice were present.

"My family was not even given the opportunity to defend itself, or to comment regarding the contents of the article, notwithstanding that the statements are very damaging to my husbandís memory," the former first lady said.

"Wala na pong hinto ang paninira sa amin, sa pag prosecute sa mga Marcoses. Kinuha na sa amin ang lahat, pero huwag naman nila kunin sa amin ang katotohanan (Thereís no letup to the accusations hurled against us and the prosecution of the Marcoses. They got everything from us but please donít take the truth from us) because truth is God. Money and power you can take only to your grave, but truth and honor you will take with you beyond grave unto infinity and eternity," she added.

Mrs. Marcos hired the services of Armando Marcelo and Francis Rivera, of the PECABAR law firm, to act as her legal counsel in the libel case.

Marcelo said they have not yet indicated any amount of damages and would just submit a supplemental affidavit once the case has been raffled off to a court.

"This case cannot be expressed in terms of money," Rivera said.

"This is a libel case and it blackens the memory of a person long dead. The damage caused unto the wife and children (is) really tremendous," Marcelo added.

He explained that they filed the libel charges because the respondents allegedly accused former President Marcos of being a thief even if he was never convicted in court.

Mrs. Marcos also said the PCGG filed 425 cases against her family since 1986 but there has not been a single conviction against them.

The former first lady, who is suffering from glaucoma, is scheduled to leave for an eye checkup in the United States. She would be gone for a month to visit the Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal and to attend the canonization of Mother Theresaís sainthood at the Vatican.

Gloria Reyes, president of the Pilipinas Kong Mahal Ama at Ina Forever, and Friends of Imelda Romualdez Marcos (FIRM) president Nestor Artemio Lachica reiterated their support to Imelda.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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