MANILA – More than three decades after she and her family were kicked out of the country, former first lady Imelda Marcos has shown that for all intents and purposes, she is practically untouchable.
The wife of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was found guilty of seven counts of graft and sentenced to six years and one month up to 11 years in prison for each count by the Sandiganbayan last week, yet even the chief of the Philippine National Police said he did not want to arrest her because Mrs. Marcos “might get mad.”
PNP Chief Director Oscar Albayalde said, “We have to take into consideration the age” of Mrs. Marcos, who is 89.
Senator ChizEscudero, Rep. EdcelLagman, and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate told the PNP chief that the age of a convicted person was irrelevant and no special treatment should be extended to Mrs. Marcos.
“No law exempts a felon from arrest or incarceration due to old age,” Lagman said in a press briefing.
At the start of this week, the clerk of court of the Sandiganbayan issued the arrest warrant against the former First Lady, who was actually partying when she learned of her conviction.
Defenders of Mrs. Marcos such as Senator Cynthia Villar said authorities should go easy on her due to her age, leading Vice President LeniRobredo to say in the vernacular that “if she is healthy enough to party, then she is healthy enough to be jailed.”
After the flap caused by his apparent refusal to arrest Mrs. Marcos, Albayalde backtracked and said the former first lady would indeed be arrested but would not be handcuffed since she “has no history of violence.”
Mrs. Marcos is set to be detained at the Camp Crame Custodial Facility, should the Sandiganbayan agree.
The Marcos camp was set to file a motion for reconsideration before the anti-graft court to prevent her from being locked up. She, however, must first explain to the court why she was absent during the reading of the judgement last Friday, Nov. 9. That night, she attended the birthday party of her daughter Imee, who is running for senator in next year’s elections. Present at that party were House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, former senator Juan Ponce-Enrile, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, and Solicitor General Jose Calida.
By law, any person who does not appear during promulgation of sentence without justifiable cause shall lose the remedies available. Her lawyer Robert Sison was also absent during the sentencing, but is said to be confined in a hospital.
As a result of her absence, the court ordered the forfeiture of Mrs. Marcos’s bail.
Mrs. Marcos was convicted after the court ruled that she had transferred $200 million to Swiss foundations when she was still a member of the BatasanPambansa.
She is currently a member of the House of Representatives, representing the second district of Ilocos Norte.