The Philippines’ infamous First Lady stays free, at least for now.
Yesterday, the presiding justice of the Sandiganbayan, the Philippines’ anti-graft court, announced that it has deferred the release of the warrant of arrest vs. former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
It was earlier reported that the warrant would be served yesterday, Nov. 13.
Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje Tang said that the warrant was not released because Imelda’s lawyer had filed a motion asking for the deferment, GMA News reported.
This, even though Fifth Division Chairperson Rafael Lagos already ordered the warrant’s release when Imelda was convicted on Friday, ABS-CBN News said. CNN Philippines reported that the Fifth Division’s order also canceled the bail bonds Imelda had posted because she did not appear during the case’s promulgation.
A hearing for the motion Imelda’s lawyer filed is set for Friday, Nov. 16, Tang added. She also said that Imelda can still post bail while she is appealing her case.
Many have been wondering why Imelda has not been arrested even after she was found guilty of graft on Friday.
She was sentenced to a minimum of six years and one month to a maximum of 11 years in prison. She was found guilty on seven counts, making her total jail time a minimum of 42 years and 7 months and a maximum of 77 years.
This verdict has been a long time coming, so people’s frustrations about her continuing freedom are understandable.
Imelda and her family were found to have stolen as much as US$10billion (PHP530billion) while her husband, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was in power.
Despite the corruption and the thousands of human rights violations committed during their family’s regime, the Marcoses are still very powerful in Philippine politics.
Imelda is the incumbent congressperson for Ilocos Norte’s 2nd district. Her daughter Imee Marcos is currently the governor of the same province and will be running for senator next year. Her son Bongbong Marcos was a senator and ran for vice president in 2016 but lost.
So it’s no surprise that Imelda is receiving special treatment even after her conviction.
“In any arrest of anybody for that matter, that has to be taken into consideration, the health, the age [of the person to be arrested]” he said.
Many pointed out, however, that this is simply not true. Netizens even unearthed news stories of people close in age to Imelda who the police have arrested.
People also said that if Imelda can attend a party on the very day her conviction was announced, her age shouldn’t be a problem when it comes to her arrest.
Imelda’s conviction also banned her from holding any position in public office but the Commission on Elections said in a report on The Philippine Daily Inquirer that she can still continue with her plan to run for governor next year because the Sandiganbayan’s order is not yet final and executory.