OTHERS in a similar situation would have sought a safe area by either staying put where the law could not reach them or by fleeing the country. But not Imelda Marcos.

Reports said she attended a party hours after she was declared guilty by the Sandiganbayan for seven counts of graft. She obviously did not see the need to escape or seek a secure place. Perhaps she found haven in a party because that was where she went.

Marcos, 89, wife of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was found guilty of committing graft by the Sandiganbayan fifth division. She was said to have committed seven counts of graft which stemmed from her “financial interests and participation in the management of private foundations in Switzerland” when she served as a Cabinet official during her late husband’s term.

The anti-graft court sentenced her to imprisonment from six years and one month to 11 years for each count and said she is “perpetually disqualified from holding any public post.”

Marcos is the incumbent Ilocos Norte second district representative and is seeking the position of Ilocos Norte governor in the May 2019 exercise.

An ABS-CBN report said that, just hours after being convicted, Marcos attended the birthday celebration of her daughter, Imee, in a party attended by, among others, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Solicitor General Jose Calida and former Senate president Juan Ponce-Enrile.

The place and company were not likely to cause her to be afraid or worried.

Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao criticized Marcos for having the gall to attend a party in a “mockery” of the sufferings of Filipinos who “fought (a) decades-long uphill battle to bring the Marcoses to account for their crimes.” Unlike ordinary citizens or critics of the government who are found guilty of charges, Marcos benefits from a “double standard,” he added. Others get arrested immediately while Marcos is able to party.

Another party-list member, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, said Marcos should have instead prepared for her arrest. “Perhaps she was confident that she will be acquitted of her crime to the Filipino people?”

Marcos appears unperturbed perhaps because of her closeness to President Rodrigo Duterte, highlighted when Duterte allowed Ferdinand Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani despite the opposition, or of her advanced age that she knew she would be granted some privileges.

Marcos said she will appeal the Sandiganbayan decision.

The case involves the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family estimated at between US$5 billion and US$10 billion deposited in accounts abroad, including Switzerland. The Philippine government has recovered only P170 billion over the past 30 years.

Will the Sandiganbayan decision put closure to the ill-gotten wealth issue against the Marcoses? Not in the immediate future.