How Imelda Marcos justified ‘unjustifiable’ absence in past promulgation

November 16, 2018 - 2:52 PM
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Imelda Marcos
The Philippines’ anti-corruption court on Friday ordered the arrest of former first lady Imelda Marcos after finding her guilty on seven counts of graft during the two-decade rule of her husband and former dictator, Ferdinand Marcos. (Reuters file photo)

Critics of former first lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos continue to call for her arrest even after the Sandiganbayan allowed her to post bail for provisional liberty on Friday.

The widow of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was allowed to post P150,000 bail bond for her provisional liberty, a week after she was found guilty of seven counts of graft by the anti-graft court for offenses allegedly committed during her time as a member of her husband’s cabinet.

Marcos will thus be free while the Sandiganbayan decides on whether she can avail of post-conviction remedies.

Marcos explained at the hearing that she was not aware that the reading of her judgement had been set the previous week, saying that she woke up ill on the morning of the reading and only found out about the decision by watching television.

She also explained that the notice was received by her cook, who placed it in the office of her secretary, who in turn was also on leave.

Marcos earlier explained that she was indisposed due to “multiple organ infirmities.” She was chastised for changing her reason during the proceeding.

Critics of the Marcoses continue to question why the former first lady remains free a week since her conviction.

Some questioned whether the amount of bail posted was commensurate to the amount of the accused’s alleged ill-gotten wealth.

Others questioned the legal basis for allowing Marcos to post a bail bond for her provisional liberty.

The order for Marcos’ arrest previously released orders on the forfeiture of the bail bonds she posted by reason of her and her counsel’s “unjustifiable” absence during the reading of the judgement.

Marcos’ counsel Robert Sison according to Marcos was also unable to appear at the reading as he was confined at the Asian Hospital in Muntinlupa City.

Free since conviction

Marcos’ freedom since her conviction and her right to avail legal remedies have been questioned by those calling for her arrest.

Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde previously announced that they would be considering the 89-year-old Marcos’ health and age in her arrest. The PNP earlier explained that she had not been arrested as they had yet to receive a copy of the warrant of arrest, which is a constitutional and procedural requirement.

Those critical of the police chief’s reasoning cited earlier instances of elderly suspects being apprehended despite being charged for lesser offenses such as petty theft.

While Marcos is expected to file her motion for reconsideration, some pointed out that the Sandiganbayan’s previous cancellation of her bail bond for “unjustifiable absence” during the reading of her judgement should bar her from pursuing legal remedies.

The Sandiganbayan will still decide on whether Marcos can still avail of such legal remedies. Her use of legal remedies such as the filing of a Motion for reconsideration would have lifted the arrest order, as the Sandiganbayan decision is not yet final, Ombudsman assistant special prosecutor Rey Quilala earlier confirmed.