By Czarina Nicole Ong
Why was former First Lady and incumbent Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos absent during her graft promulgation before the Sandiganbayan last Friday?
Marcos finally explained her absence in her motion for leave of court to avail of post conviction remedies, which was filed on November 12. In it, she apologized to the court for failing to appear last week, adding that it “was neither intentional nor meant to disrespect” the Sandiganbayan.
She explained that she suffers 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, as well as recurrence of seizure.”
As for her counsel, Atty. Robert Sison, he was supposed to accompany her to court during promulgation. But last November 9, he was treated in the Asian Hospital in Muntinlupa due to high blood pressure and was advised to rest for three days.
Marcos even attached a letter from her doctor in the motion in order to prove her medical condition, while Sison provided a sworn statement and medical certificate from the hospital.
“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,” her motion read.
Marcos added that she wants permission from the Sandiganbayan to question or challenge their “adverse,” and she hopes they would defer the issuance of the arrest warrant. She also wants the court to reinstate her bail or be allowed to post bail for her provisional liberty.
The hearing on her motion was held Friday morning before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division.
Marcos was convicted last week of seven counts of graft and was sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of six years and one month, as minimum, to 11 years, as maximum for each graft charge, with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
Her graft charges, filed back in 1991, stemmed from her “direct and indirect financial or pecuniary interest” in the management of several non-government organizations created in Switzerland from 1968 to 1984.
She maintained accounts with the Swiss Bank Corporation for the said foundations “for the benefit of the accused and her late husband,” according to the charge sheets.
At the time, Marcos was minister of human settlement and environment management, Metro Manila governor, and a member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa.