A person who has been convicted by the court should be immediately sent to jail even if he or she wants to avail of post-conviction remedies, a human rights lawyer said on Sunday.
Lawyer Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of People's Lawyers, made this remark in response to the graft conviction of Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos, who was allowed to post a P150,000-bail by the Sandiganbayan pending its ruling on her motion to seek post-conviction remedies.
"Kapag ikaw ay na-convict, ang SOP (standard operating procedure) ay ituloy ka sa kulungan kahit mag-file ka ng motion for reconsideration," Olalia told Super Radyo dzBB in an interview.
"Sa kaso ni Imelda, 'yung paghain ng isang mosyon ay hindi sapat na dahilan na mag-defer ng warrant. Halatang drinibble o binigyan ng espasyo para maghabol," he added.
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division found Marcos guilty of seven counts of graft over her alleged financial interests in Swiss-based foundations during her time as Minister of Human Settlements and interim member of Congress.
Marcos was absent during the promulgation of the decision on her graft case, forcing the Sandiganbayan to compel her to explain her “unjustified” absence within 30 days.
In a motion filed at the Fifth Division on November 12, Marcos said she meant no disrespect to the Sandiganbayan but had to prevent herself from attending stressful conditions upon the orders of her doctor as she was suffering from seven health conditions.
But for Olalia, Marcos provided "conflicting" reasons for her absence at the promulgation, since she attended the birthday party of her daughter, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, on the same day that the Sandiganbayan announced its decision on her case.
"Una, pito ang iyong karamdaman pero nandun ka naman sa party ng iyong anak. Tapos hindi mo pala alam daw at may sakit ang iyong unang abogado," he said.
"Ang post-conviction remedies, nawawala 'yan kung ikaw ay hindi dumalo sa paghatol. Nawawala rin 'yan kapag ikaw ay tumakas, o fugitive from justice. Kung karaniwang mamamayan at kalakaran, tuluy-tuloy na dapat 'yan sa kulungan," he added.
Olalia also lamented how for some individuals and political prisoners like National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace negotiator Vic Ladlad, arrest and detention were prompt and immediate, but not for Marcos who was already convicted.
Ladlad was arrested on November 8 and detained over alleged illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
"May pagka-special treatment kung pag-aaralan natin ang mga kaganapan na hindi naman posibleng mangyari 'yan sa ordinaryong mamamayan o kaya sa mga political prisoners," Olalia said.
Prior to her conviction, Marcos filed her certificate of candidacy to run for governor of Ilocos Norte in the May 2019 elections. —Erwin Colcol/KG, GMA News