Sandiganbayan lets Imelda Marcos post P150K bail

Former First Lady and now Ilocos Rep. Imelda Marcos arrives at Sandiganbayan to attend her graft hearing. photo by Jam Sta. Rosa

The Sandiganbayan on Friday, November 16, granted former first lady Imelda Marcos’ plea to post bail amounting to a total of P150,000 while the anti-graft court assessed her motion to leave on her conviction on seven counts of graft. 

In her plea, Marcos noted that she is suffering from “multiple organ infirmities” and was under “strict orders” from her physician “to refrain from stressful conditions that will put her at risk for heart and brain attack and recurrence of seizure,” as reported by The Philippine Star. 

The Marcos matriarch attached a certification from her physician Dr. Joven Cuanang of St. Luke’s Medical Center to the motion. The certification, dated November 12, indicated that she is experiencing age-related conditions that prompted her to be under medical care for the past several years. 

Among the seven ailments noted in the medical report are diabetes mellitus type 2, hypertension and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, static mini-strokes, sensorineural hearing loss, chronic recurrent urinary tract infection, chronic recurrent gastritis and multiple colon polyps and recurrent respiratory tract infection. 

Protesters greet arrival of Imelda Marcos at Sandiganbayan. photos by Jam Sta. Rosa

The 89-year-old Ilocos Norte representative also explained why she was unable to appear before the court last Friday. Marcos and her new legal aid, former Court of Appeals Justice Manuel Lazaro, filed a motion that explained the former first lady’s absence. 

“At the outset, the accused humbly apologizes to this Honorable Court for her absence during the scheduled promulgation of judgment on 09 November 2018. The failure to appear was neither intentional nor meant to disrespect this Honorable Court but was solely because she was indisposed,” Marcos’ motion read.

It added, “Considering that the absence of the Accused was due to a justifiable reason, she respectfully prays of this Honorable Court that her standing be restored and that she be given leave to avail of the remedies provided under the Rules of Criminal Procedure against her judgment of conviction.” 

As stated in the rules of the court under Section 6, Rule 120, the accused who fails to attend the promulgation of the decision on his or her case, without justifiable cause, shall “lose the remedies available in these rules against the judgment and the court shall order his/her arrest.”

Contrary to the “indisposed” excuse that the Marcos camp stated, the Ilocos Norte representative was seen partying at her daughter Imee Marcos’ birthday celebration hours before the ruling was issued, according to various reports. 

Last week, Marcos was convicted on seven counts of graft for funneling funds into seven private foundations in Switzerland when her husband, former President Ferdinand Marcos, was still in office. 

The case was filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in December 1991. 

Supporters greet Imelda Marcos at Sandiganbayan.

Deposits totaling $658-million were found in the conjugal Swiss dollar accounts of the Marcos couple while about $200 million of which were reportedly transferred to the Swiss foundations, as identified by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG). 

The former first lady faces six to 11 years in prison for each count totaling 77 years at a maximum. She is also barred from holding an electoral position. 

An arrest warrant was issued by the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, but it was not enforced. The order also provides that the accused can avail of remedies such as the application for bail should the camp be able to justify their absence. 

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, however, disputed the claims that President Rodrigo Duterte would intervene in the conviction, considering the close ties that the leader has with the Marcos family. 

“The president will not even stop the courts from issuing any warrant nor the Philippine National Police from enforcing the warrant of arrest if the court will issue it,” Panelo added. 

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