Imelda Marcos has posted a 300,000 peso bail to secure her temporary freedom following the former First Lady’s conviction for graft.
The 300,000 peso bail was paid by a lawyer at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan today (Wednesday, December 5).
The 89-year-old has been convicted of seven counts of graft for illegally creating and maintaining Swiss foundations for the “private benefit” of the former first family. The conviction carries a maximum sentence of 77 years.
Under Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, bail can be granted to a convicted person while he or she is appealing the decision subject to some standards like being a flight risk, delinquency and undue risk to commit another crime.
The Sandiganbayan said the Ombudsman prosecutors were not able to prove that Mrs Marcos fitted any of those descriptions.
The Sandiganbayan also applied the Supreme Court doctrine on Juan Ponce Enrile, which considered old age and state of health as humanitarian reasons to grant bail.
However, under the Rules of Court, a convicted person loses remedies such as bail if he or she was “absent during promulgation without a justifiable cause”.
Ombudsman prosecutors opposed the bail because Mrs Marcos had cited two conflicting reasons for her absence at a previous hearing. Her lawyer first told the court that she was “suffering from seven ailments”. However, a later affidavit submitted by Mrs Marcos claimed that she simply did not know the schedule.
When she personally appeared before the court, Mrs Marcos said she would have attended her promulgation had she known about the court schedule.
“Such statements invite leniency on the part of the Court, considering that in the process, Ms Marcos surrendered and placed herself within the reach and arm of the law,” the court said.
Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang defended the decision. He said: “I don’t believe that there has been preferential treatment that was accorded Mrs Marcos. I believe the members of the 5th Division merely exercised what is proper under the circumstance.”
Mrs Marcos will face jail if the conviction is upheld after the appeal period. She has already filed a notice of appeal to go directly to the Supreme Court, leapfrogging the usual process of filing a ‘Motion for Reconsideration’ at the Sandiganbayan.
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