By: Czarina Nicole Ong

Source: Manila Bulletin

Former first lady and incumbent Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos said she was watching television on November 9 when she learned about the guilty verdict the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division dealt on her seven graft charges.

Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos arrives at the Sandiganbayan 5th Division for the hearing regarding her post conviction remedies. (Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN)

“I was watching TV,” Marcos told the Sandiganbayan justices when she learned of the promulgation. “I called my legal officials,” she added, but “cannot get in touch.” Apparently, her lawyer Robert Sison had chest pains and a heart problem at the time.

In her motion for leave to file post-conviction remedies, Marcos also explained that she suffers from multiple organ infirmities, and was “under strict orders from her physician to refrain from stressful conditions that will put her at risk for heart and brain attack, as well as recurrence of seizure.”

Chairperson Rafael Lagos mentioned that she was even able to attend a party that afternoon, and Marcos quickly clarified that it took place in the evening.

That day, Marcos said she woke up late in the afternoon and attended a party in their house in San Juan to celebrate the birthday of her eldest daughter, Ilocos Norte governor Imee Marcos.

Marcos added that she actually had qualms about attending the party, but her daughter Imee called her and was “crying and begging” her to attend.

Lagos then asked Marcos what the true reason was for her absence – her sickness or the fact that she was not notified about the promulgation. After repeating the question several times, Marcos finally answered, “I did not really know.”

“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.

For now, the anti-graft court allowed Marcos to post P150,000 bail while they are resolving her motion. She is to remain within the premises of the Sandiganbayan the entire time.

Meanwhile, Marcos family supporters and protesters have flocked the gates of the Sandiganbayan while the motion is being heard. The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), for one, said in a statement that Marcos’ supposed arrest was “too good and beautiful to be true.”

“So after 27 long agonizing years, the Filipino people are again made to wait for the reckoning. Meantime, Imelda can go on partying the nights away, run for elections together with her forgetful eldest daughter, and wait for his son, the dictator’s namesake, to become president,” the statement read. “Because some are more powerful than others.”

On the other hand, Beth Lopez De Leon from the pro-Marcos group maintained the innocence of the Marcos family, given what they have done for the country. “Kami po ay naniniwala sa mga Marcoses, sa mga ginawa nila sa bayan (We believe in the Marcoses and in what they have done for the nation),” she said.

Last Friday, Marcos was found guilty of seven counts of graft due to her financial interests in several foundations created in Switzerland during the Marcos administration. She was acquitted in three other graft charges involving local corporations due to insufficiency of evidence against her.

Marcos, 89, is the wife of the late president Ferdinand Marcos and the mother of Ilocos Norte governor Imee Marcos and former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. The two of them were with their mother during the hearing.

She was also escorted by her grandsons, fashion model Borgy Manotoc, lawyer Mike Manotoc, and Luis Araneta.