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Sandiganbayan defers warrant of arrest vs. Imelda Marcos

The Sandiganbayan has deferred the issuance of a warrant of arrest against former First Lady and incumbent Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos, Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje Tang said on Tuesday.

Tang issued the statement several days after the anti-graft court convicted Marcos of seven counts of graft on Friday and sentenced her to six to 11 years in prison for each count.

“I just learned that the Court has deferred release of the warrant of arrest because the lawyer of Mrs. Marcos filed a motion (on Monday) asking leave of court to avail of remedies and deferment of issuance of warrant,” Tang said.

Tang affirmed previous remarks from the Fifth Division clerk of court that Marcos’ motion would be heard on Friday, November 16.

The Sandiganbayan found that Marcos created seven foundations in Switzerland during her tenure as Minister of Human Settlements, Metro Manila Governor, and interim member of Congress from 1978 to 1984 only to benefit her family as its lone beneficiary.

Aside from the prison sentence, the anti-graft court perpetually disqualified Marcos from holding public office and ordered the forfeiture of the bail bond she posted during the trial stage.

Tang, however, said Marcos could still post bail for her temporary freedom while her conviction had yet to be final and executory.

“Ordinarily, an accused who has been convicted  of a bailable offense may still be granted bail pending appeal which is addressed to the sound discretion of the court,” Tang said.

Marcos failed to attend the promulgation of judgment, thus forcing the Sandiganbayan to compel her to explain her “unjustified” absence within 30 days.

Under Rule 120 of the Rules of Court on Criminal Procedure, an accused loses the chance to seek available remedies if he or she was absent during the promulgation of judgment without justification.

An accused, nonetheless, can file a motion for leave of court within 15 days from promulgation explaining the absence. —NB, GMA News