Imelda bail hit as ‘affront’ to martial law victims

Imelda bail hit as ‘affront’ to martial law victims

Imelda Marcos

Imelda bail hit as ‘affront’ to martial law victims

Opposition lawmakers and a lawyers’ group slammed the Sandiganbayan for allowing former first lady Imelda Marcos to post bail even after she had skipped a court session where her conviction on seven counts of graft was handed down last week.

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said while bail as legal remedy was allowed under the Rules of Court, such a privilege should not be “taken lightly and dismissed on account of her age and health conditions.”

On Monday, Marcos, 89, filed a motion for leave of court to avail herself of postconviction remedies, which are provided under Rule 120 if the court finds the absence of the accused during the promulgation of the verdict to be “without justifiable cause.”

The court said that while the motion was pending, it would defer ordering her immediate arrest and allow her to post bail.

“We knew it. It (the conviction) was too good and beautiful to be true,” said Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), a group of human rights lawyers.

Olalia said the court’s decision granting bail showed how some “were more powerful than others” in the Philippines.

“And so it came to pass that by a mere motion of a convicted plunderer, the Philippine court ‘deferred’ and bid its time in the actual issuance of the arrest warrant against an accused who has lost all legal remedies by reason of her failure to attend the said promulgation,” the NUPL president said.

“So, after 27 long agonizing years, the Filipino people are again made to wait for the reckoning,” Olalia said in a statement on Friday.

Imelda Marcos Imelda Marcos Imelda Marcos Imelda Marcos Imelda Marcos

Medical excuse

“Meantime,” he added, “Imelda can go on partying the nights away, run for elections together with her forgetful eldest daughter, and wait for his son, the dictator’s namesake, to become President.”

The widow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos was found guilty of seven counts of graft in connection with Swiss foundations that she and her husband established and used to stash more than $200 million abroad while she was serving as a government official.

Although the medical excuse given by Marcos for not appearing in court to hear the Sandiganbayan announce its judgment on the cases filed 27 years ago—“multiple organ infirmities—appeared serious, “her actions and demeanor say otherwise,” Villarin said.

He said Marcos was partying to celebrate the birthday of her daughter, Imee, just hours after the Sandiganbayan sentenced her to up to 77 years in prison on Friday last week.

Marcos had also filed for candidacy to succeed her daughter as governor of Ilocos Norte province, which Villarin described as a “stressful job.”

“It is history judging her and this is no ordinary case that we just let pass without a whimper … So why allow her to bail and engage in such a strenuous work in politics? She should be jailed and let fate decide her future,” Villarin said.

Imelda Marcos

Imelda Marcos Imelda Marcos

Avoid incarceration

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said the antigraft court’s decision showed a “double standard” of justice.

“Clearly, it’s antipoor,” he lamented. “If you are rich, you can avoid incarceration. But if you are poor, you might spend the rest of your life in jail.”
Opposition lawmakers and a lawyers’ group slammed the Sandiganbayan for allowing former first lady Imelda Marcos to post bail even after she had skipped a court session where her conviction on seven counts of graft was handed down last week.

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said while bail as legal remedy was allowed under the Rules of Court, such a privilege should not be “taken lightly and dismissed on account of her age and health conditions.”

On Monday, Marcos, 89, filed a motion for leave of court to avail herself of postconviction remedies, which are provided under Rule 120 if the court finds the absence of the accused during the promulgation of the verdict to be “without justifiable cause.”

The court said that while the motion was pending, it would defer ordering her immediate arrest and allow her to post bail.

“We knew it. It (the conviction) was too good and beautiful to be true,” said Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), a group of human rights lawyers.

Olalia said the court’s decision granting bail showed how some “were more powerful than others” in the Philippines.

“And so it came to pass that by a mere motion of a convicted plunderer, the Philippine court ‘deferred’ and bid its time in the actual issuance of the arrest warrant against an accused who has lost all legal remedies by reason of her failure to attend the said promulgation,” the NUPL president said.

“So, after 27 long agonizing years, the Filipino people are again made to wait for the reckoning,” Olalia said in a statement on Friday.

Imelda Marcos Imelda Marcos Imelda Marcos

Medical excuse

“Meantime,” he added, “Imelda can go on partying the nights away, run for elections together with her forgetful eldest daughter, and wait for his son, the dictator’s namesake, to become President.”

The widow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos was found guilty of seven counts of graft in connection with Swiss foundations that she and her husband established and used to stash more than $200 million abroad while she was serving as a government official.

Although the medical excuse given by Marcos for not appearing in court to hear the Sandiganbayan announce its judgment on the cases filed 27 years ago—“multiple organ infirmities—appeared serious, “her actions and demeanor say otherwise,” Villarin said.

He said Marcos was partying to celebrate the birthday of her daughter, Imee, just hours after the Sandiganbayan sentenced her to up to 77 years in prison on Friday last week.

Marcos had also filed for candidacy to succeed her daughter as governor of Ilocos Norte province, which Villarin described as a “stressful job.”

“It is history judging her and this is no ordinary case that we just let pass without a whimper … So why allow her to bail and engage in such a strenuous work in politics? She should be jailed and let fate decide her future,” Villarin said.

Justification

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said the antigraft court’s decision showed a “double standard” of justice.

“Clearly, it’s antipoor,” he lamented. “If you are rich, you can avoid incarceration. But if you are poor, you might spend the rest of your life in jail.”

‘Various genuineness illnesses’

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said Marcos’ justification for not showing up in court just demonstrated that she was tormented with “numerous genuineness sicknesses.”

The P150,000 safeguard was “shabby” in contrast with the “billions of pesos (the Marcoses) stole from the general population,” as indicated by Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago.

“It’s an affront to military law exploited people, their families and the Filipino individuals who had been trusting that equity will be served on the Marcoses,” she said.

The safeguard allowed was an “exceptionally disgraceful” choice by the Sandiganbayan judges who indicated they were “bowing down to the arrogant Marcoses for the entire world to see,” said Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao.

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