Source: ABS-CBN News

Former First Lady Imelda Marcos appears before the Sandiganbayan. Mrs Marcos is seeking a ‘leave of court’ to contest her graft conviction. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – Former First Lady Imelda Marcos on Friday told the anti-graft court that she did not know the promulgation of her case was scheduled last Friday after she initially said she had to skip the proceedings due to her doctor’s orders.

Marcos, who was found guilty of 7 counts of graft for funneling public funds to overseas bank accounts, said she did not receive notice from the Sandiganbayan and she only learned about her verdict on television.

“If I knew about it your honor, I would have been here right away. Even if I was sick, I would have come here,” she said during her first appearance before the court since her conviction was handed down last week.

Justice Rafael Lagos, chairperson of the court’s 5th division, pointed out that the statement Marcos made on the witness stand contradicted the medical certificate submitted by St Luke’s Medical Center neurologist Joven Cuanang.

The Marcos matriarch is said to be “under chronic medical care for several years now” and is suffering from at least 7 health conditions, according to a medical certificate issued by Cuanang.

He listed seven conditions affecting Marcos: diabetes mellitus type 2, hypertension and atheroscelerotic cardio-vascular disease, static ministrokes, moderately severe sensorineural hearing loss, chronic recurrent urinary tract infection, chronic recurrent gastritis and multiple colon polyps, recurrent respiratory tract infection.

This led to the recommendation that the 89-year-old lawmaker from Ilocos Norte to “refrain from stressful conditions” that will put her at risk of “heart and brain attack and recurrence of seizure,” her camp said in a motion filed earlier this week.

But Lagos pointed out that Marcos was able to attend the birthday party of her daughter Imee, a senatorial aspirant and the current provincial governor, on the same day.

Marcos said she got a call from Imee who was “crying,” informing her that “all the guests are already here.”

Marcos, widow of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was found guilty of graft for using the Cabinet position she held during her husband’s presidency to maintain Swiss bank accounts.

She is the first in their family, who has been accused of pocketing ill-gotten wealth estimated between US$5 billion to US$10 billion, to be convicted.

She was sentenced to imprisonment of 6 years and 1 month to 11 years for each of the 7 counts, but she was able to post bail on Friday while awaiting the court’s decision on her motion for leave of court to explore post-conviction remedies.