Sandigan doubles Imelda Marcos bail; martial law foes hit ‘leniency’
The Sandiganbayan has allowed former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos to post bail and enjoy temporary liberty while the court decides on her appeal following her Nov. 9 conviction on seven counts of graft.
In a Nov. 28 resolution, the court’s Fifth Division granted Marcos’ “motion for leave to avail [herself] of postconviction remedies” and allowed her to post “double the amount of her original bond” on Nov. 16, making her bail P300,000.
The clerk of court said Marcos was given 15 days to avail herself of postconviction remedies under the rules of court.
“[Marcos] was also required to post a cash bond double the amount of her original bond, as the rules allow an accused to continue enjoying provisional liberty during the pendency of an appeal or a motion for reconsideration,” the clerk of court told reporters on Friday.
The 89-year-old widow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos was allowed to either file her motion for reconsideration in the antigraft court or go straight to the Supreme Court through a notice of appeal to the Sandiganbayan.
In portions of the resolution released to the media, the antigraft court noted the “inconsistencies” between the affidavit Marcos submitted and the motion filed by her lawyer.
She earlier claimed that she failed to attend the promulgation because she was not informed about it. Her lawyer, however, cited health issues.
In its resolution, the court accepted the reasons she offered for her absence, noting the “firm” admission she made in open court that she “did not know.” It also acknowledged her “surrender” a week after the promulgation.
“The real reason, Your Honor, was because I did not know, I did not really know, God knows that I did not know … Even if I was sick, I would have come here because this is the law…,” the court quoted Marcos as saying in her testimony.
Her statements showed that Marcos did not intend to defy legal processes, the court said.
Marcos was sentenced to a maximum prison term of 77 years as she was found guilty in seven of the 10 graft cases filed against her from 1991 to 1995.
The charges were in connection with Swiss foundations she and her husband established and used to stash at least $200 million abroad while she was a member of the defunct Batasang Pambansa, Metro Manila governor and minister of human settlements.
Marcos earlier this week filed a notice of appeal at the Sandiganbayan to notify the court that she would question her conviction in the high tribunal.
On Friday, anti-Marcos activists denounced the court ruling that allowed the former first lady to evade imprisonment.
“The Sandiganbayan is becoming instrumental to the injustice endured by martial law victims by allowing Imelda these remedies, despite her repeated disrespect of the court. She has lied without worry, partied without worry and is now being granted leniency,” the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (Carmma) said.
“This development is another blow to the Filipino people who have continued fighting for justice and accountability,” Carmma said in a statement.
“Of course Mrs. Marcos has money, what with all the billions she and her family has siphoned from public funds. Of course she has lawyers capable of finding the slightest loopholes to prolong and prevent the full implementation of the law,” Carmma said. —WITH A REPORT FROM ERWIN AGUILON, RADYO INQUIRER
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