MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan will begin transferring the case records of graft convict Imelda Marcos to the Supreme Court (SC), which will handle the appeal from hereon.
The Sandiganbayan 5th Division confirmed on Tuesday, December 11, that it has “given due course” to the Notice of Appeal filed by Marcos in relation to her conviction for 7 counts of graft in the High Court, and not by way of a Motion for Reconsideration (MR) before the anti-graft court.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court 1st Division denied the appeal of the government in the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) acquittal of Mikey Arroyo for being filed straight to the High Court, instead of filing an MR first at the tax court.
The 5th Division said is now just photocopying the records for its own copy, but that the originals will soon be transmitted to the Supreme Court.
Newly-appointed Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin has reported ties to veteran litigator Estelito Mendoza, a Marcos-time solicitor general who has recently been lawyering for Marcos’ children, Ferdinand Jr and Imee.
Despite the conviction, Marcos was granted bail of P300,000 to enjoy temporary liberty while appealing it. Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang has defended the decision as the 5th Division was “merely exercising what is proper under the circumstance.”
Marcos was found guilty of illegally creating and maintaining private organizations in Switzerland, where they earned at least $200 million from interest and investments for the “private benefit” of the former first family.
Rules on bail
Bail is a matter of right, except for what are called the non-bailable cases. Graft is a bailable case.
Bail became discretionary upon conviction, which was the case for Marcos.
But Under Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, bail can be granted to a convicted person while he or she is appealing, but subject to qualifications like flight risk, delinquency, and undue risk to commit another crime.
The Sandiganbayan said the Ombudsman prosecutors were not able to prove that Marcos fit any of those descriptions.
The Sandiganbayan also applied the SC doctrine on Juan Ponce Enrile, in consideration of the former senator’s old age and state of health as humanitarian reasons to grant bail.
Under Section 6, Rule 120, of the Rules of Court, the convicted person loses remedies such as bail if he or she was absent during promulgation without a justifiable cause.
Marcos cited two conflicting justifications for her absence. But when she personally appeared before the court, 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. – Rappler.com