By SHERWIN DE VERA
VIGAN CITY — Human rights and famers’ group on Tuesday, November 13, slammed the statement made by National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde and the Sandiganbayan’s deferment of the former first lady’s warrant of arrest over the conviction of Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos.
The Solidarity of Peasants Against Exploitation (Stop Exploitation) said Albayade’s pronouncement and failure of the anti-graft Court to immediately issue arrest “reeks of double standards.”
“If Imelda was a simple citizen or a government critic, the court would surely release the warrant of arrest on the day of conviction. The police on the other hand would have arrested her even before her conviction,” said Antonino Pugyao, chairperson of the organization in an interview with Nordis.
He lamented that since the convict is rich, a siting lawmaker and close to the president, “authorities now take into account the age and other matters.”
The PNP chief told reporters on Monday that they will take into consideration Imelda’s old age and health which drew criticisms from human rights organizations and social media users.
Karapatan, in a statement, pointed that police arrested elderly and sick National Democratic Front consultants and activists” without any consideration for due process and their medical conditions,” some of who were even “denied of timely medical attention.”
“Throughout the years, there was no statement whatsoever that the PNP hesitated from arresting and jailing these activists and peace advocates because they are old and sick. No humanitarian consideration was given in the manner of their arrest; many were even denied of timely medical assistance,” said the group.
As of September 2018, Karapatan recorded 40 elderly and 115 sick political prisoners facing fabricated charges.
Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan deferred the issuance of the warrant after Imelda’s lawyer filed a motion for leave. In the motion, Marcos asked the court to defer the issuance of the warrant. In particular, the motion seeks to allow their camp to justify the absence of Marcos and her lawyer during the promulgation so she can still appeal the court decision.
A motion for leave is a legal remedy that seeks the court permission to deffer established procedures.
She claimed “multiple organ infirmities” kept her from attending the November 9 promulgation. A medical certificate from Saint Luke’s Medical Center signed by neurologist Dr. Joven Cuanang said the convict suffers from at least seven conditions.
However, on the same day, the former first lady was seen attending the birthday party of her daughter, Ilocos Norte governor Imee Marcos with Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio, House Speaker Macapagal-Gloria Arroyo and other officials.
The Sandiganbayan 5th Division convicted Imelda for seven counts of graft in relation to the creation and funding of private foundations in Switzerland.
After 26 years, the court handed the decision that detailed the illegal venture of Imelda and the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, earnings at least P10.6 billion. The magistrates also ruled that Ferdinand Sr. committed graft in connection to the funds channeled to the Asian Reliability Company, Inc.
The foundations also listed Ilocos Norte governor and senatorial candidate Imee Marcos and her brother, Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos, Jr. as beneficiaries. # nordis.net