Judge quizzes Imelda Marcos on absence at promulgation
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division on Friday grilled former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte 2nd Dist. Rep. Imelda Marcos about her excuses for being absent during the promulgation of her graft cases last November 9.
At the witness stand, Mrs. Marcos claimed she would have attended the court hearing that day if only she knew of the schedule beforehand. But Fifth Division chair Rafael Lagos called her out over her confusing statements.
“Are you saying that if you knew of the promulgation, you would have attended?” Lagos asked Mrs. Marcos.
“I would have attended if I knew about it, Your Honor, I would do,” Mrs. Marcos responded.
Lagos was referring to the motion for leave of court to avail post-conviction remedies submitted by Marcos’ camp on Monday, where Mrs. Marcos also explained that her absence during the anti-graft court’s promulgation hearing was due to health issues.
Mrs. Marcos’ new lead counsel, Atty. Manuel Lazaro, said the former First Lady’s physician has listed seven illnesses, including “multiple organ infirmities,” of the congresswoman. Mrs. Marcos also claimed in her motion that she was ordered by her physician to avoid stressful activities, which increases her risk for “heart and brain attack and recurrence of seizure”.
“The motion says that you did not attend because you were indisposed […] I’m asking you, you said you did not know the promulgation, but it (motion) says you apologize for attending because you were indisposed?” Lagos pressed.
“The real reason is I did not really know. If I knew about it, Your Honor, even if I was sick, I would have come here,” Mrs. Marcos replied.
Lagos then asked Mrs. Marcos if it was true that she was in a party in San Juan, as argued by the prosecution, to which the former First Lady answered on the affirmative.
“I only attended, Your Honor, because it was my eldest daughter’s birthday,” Marcos said, referring to Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos’ birthday bash.
Lazaro backed-up Mrs. Marcos’ words, saying that she was both unaware and “really” sick. Mrs. Marcos also claimed her former counsel, lawyer Robert Sison, experienced chest pains and was unable to notify her of the event.
The 89-year-old widow of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos did not attend the hearing last November 9 when the anti-graft court sentenced her to years of imprisonment for finding her guilty of graft.
The Sandiganbayan consequently ordered Mrs. Marcos to explain.
Also on Friday, the Sandiganbayan allowed Mrs. Marcos to post P150,000-bail and enjoy temporary liberty while the court decides on her motion for leave despite the anti-graft court’s decision convicting her on seven cases of graft.
While the anti-graft court resolves her motion for leave, she was ordered to stay inside the premises of the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division’s court room.
On Monday, Mrs. Marcos filed a motion for leave to avail of post-conviction remedies. She also cited in that motion that she was unable to attend the November 9-promulgation hearing because she was ill. But Mrs. Marcos attended the birthday party of her daughter Imee hours after the anti-graft court handed down its ruling.
Photos from the birthday celebration showed Mrs. Marcos with some guests, including House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. /kga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.