Prosecutors question Imelda Marcos' alleged ailments, urge Sandiganbayan to order her arrest

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 16) — State prosecutors on Friday urged the Sandiganbayan to immediately issue a warrant of arrest against former first lady and Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos.

They opposed Marcos's motion for leave of court which she filed to be able to take legal steps to fight her conviction for seven counts of graft for the misuse of funds in foundations she helped manage while she was in government. She was sentenced to 77 years in jail.

Related: Imelda Marcos temporarily free as Sandiganbayan decides on her appeal for post-conviction remedies

The anti-graft court deferred the release of an arrest warrant for Marcos as after she filed the motion following her conviction on November 9.

"The warrant of arrest requested by the prosecution panel on 9 November 2018 (should) be issued immediately; and the bail originally posted by the accused remain forfeited in favor of the government and her request to post bail anew be denied," the pleading filed on Thursday read.

Neither Marcos nor her lawyer were present when the verdict was handed down, in violation of the rules of court.  In her motion, the lawmaker cited health reasons for her absence. Marcos claimed she was under strict orders from her doctor to avoid stressful situations.

But prosecutors were unconvinced.

They noted that the medical certificate attached to her motion was a mere afterthought since it was issued on November 12, days after the promulgation.

"As a matter of courtesy to this Honorable Court, accused Marcos should have, at the very least submitted a written explanation before the scheduled hearing explaining her inability to attend the promulgation of judgment," they argued.

They also challenged Marcos's ailments cited in the medical certificate, describing them as a "fiction" and a product of her doctor's "colorful imagination."

Related: Imelda Marcos cites health issues for skipping court sentencing on graft case

The prosecution pointed out that Marcos has been a congresswoman since 2010, meaning she occupies a stressful position.

They also stressed that she even wants to run again and had filed her Certificate of Candidacy for Ilocos Norte Governor for next year's polls.

"Suddenly, on the morning of 9, November 2018, accused Marcos became so obedient and conveniently followed the alleged strict orders of her physician to avoid stressful conditions and purposely missed-out in the scheduled promulgation on these instant cases despite being duly notified of the same," the prosecution lawyers noted. 

Finally, they called the court's attention to the fact that Marcos attended a party on the night of the promulgation.

"To add insult to injury and with total disregard to the judicial system, in the evening of her conviction, accused Marcos precipitously forgot about the alleged strict orders again from her physician and determinedly attended the 63rd birthday party of her daughter Ilocos Norte governor Imee Marcos in high spirits," the prosecution noted.

Marcos appeared before the Sandiganbayan Friday morning to personally explain her absence.

During the hearing, Fifth Division chairman Justice Rafael Lagos also questioned her attendance to the party.

The court still has to decide on Marcos's post conviction bail plea. While she had been found guilty, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court provides she can post bail while appealing her conviction.