Sandiganbayan: Imelda Marcos stays free while appealing conviction

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has ruled: graft convict and former first lady Imelda Marcos can enjoy freedom while appealing her conviction for 7 counts of graft.

The 5th Division told reporters Friday morning, November 30, that the justices decided on November 28 to grant Marcos post-conviction remedies including bail while on appeal.

A copy of the resolution was not immediately available to media, but the court said Marcos “was required to post a cash bond double the amount of her original bond.” It means she will have to pay P300,000 for her bail.

The length of the appeal period will vary depending on which court Marcos chooses to go. 

Marcos can file a motion for reconsideration (MR) before the Sandiganbayan, or she can go straight to the Supreme Court through a notice of appeal to the anti-graft court. 

Newly-appointed Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin has reported ties to veteran lawyer Estelito Mendoza, a Marcos-time solicitor general who has recently been lawyering for Bongbong and Imee Marcos.

Marcos has already tried to file a notice of appeal, asking the Sandiganbayan to transfer her records to the Supreme Court.

“The Rules allow an accused to continue enjoying provisional liberty during the pendency of an appeal or a motion for reconsideration,” the court said in its statement to reporters, citing the resolution.

One of the conditions of granting post-conviction remedies like bail is for the absence during promulgation to be justifiable.

Marcos was grilled for having cited two conflicting reasons: one, due to health, and the other, for simply not knowing the schedule.

The court took note of Marcos’ testimony, saying the absence was due to the second reason and  because she acknowledged that, “even if I was sick, I would have come here because this is the law.”

“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.

The court added: “Penal laws being favorable to the accused, substantive justice necessitates that Ms. Marcos be restored in her standing in Court and be recognized to her right to pursue legal remedies against the judgment of conviction.” 

Marcos was found guilty of illegally creating and maintaining Swiss foundations worth $200 million or P10.6 billion in today's exchange rate, all for the "private benefit" of the former first family.

Marcos announced on Thursday, November 29, that she has withdrawn her candidacy for governor of Ilocos Norte, substituting her grandson, Ilocos Norte 2nd District Senior Board Member Matthew Marcos Manotoc, to run for governor instead. Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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