Albayalde on Imelda Marcos' arrest: We have to consider her age and health

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The PNP Chief says they do not want to preempt the final decision of Imelda Marcos' arrest, which runs contrary to security measures taken during Senator Trillanes' arrest order. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 12) — The country's top cop addressed criticisms against the police for supposedly favoring former First Lady Imelda Marcos following an order for her arrest, compared to their constant vigilance of Senator Antonio Trillanes during the wait for his arrest warrant.

Dir. Gen. Oscar Albayalde, Chief of the Philippine National Police, defended the lack of police presence around the former First Lady, explaining that they do not see her as a threat due to her age and gender.

"Ito kasi wala tayong nakikitang magiging problema sa kanya dahil unang-una may edad na, babae," Albayalde told the press Monday.

[Translation: In this case, we don't see any threats with her because first and foremost, because of her old age and because she is a woman.]

Albayalde maintained that giving consideration to persons of old age is a standard practice in their book.

"We have to take into consideration the age, in any arrest or anybody for that matter, that has to be taken into consideration, the health, the age," he said.

No arrests have been made yet in the wake of the Sandiganbayan's decision that found Marcos guilty of seven counts of graft for profiting from the operation of foundations in Switzerland while she was in government.

She was sentenced to imprisonment of a minimum of six years and one month to a maximum of 11 years "in each case." Her total jail time is a minimum of 42 years and 7 months and a maximum of 77 years pending final order.

Although the Sandiganbayan's 5th Division Chairman, Associate Justice Rafael Lagos, gave an open court order for the issuance of an arrest warrant, the warrant is not yet out.

Albayalde explained that they have not sent police guards to her door to avoid preempting the final decision on the order. Once the decision is out, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the PNP will lead the arrest, he added.

"As of this time wala pa, even advanced coordination, wala pa. It's because we don't want to be in advance or parang magspeculate kami na ilalabas na yung decision sa kanya pero we heard the decision will be coming out and kung ilalabas yung warrant of arrest…it will be the CIDG who will lead the arrest," he said.

[Translation: As of this time, none yet, even advanced coordination, none. Its because we don't want to move in advance or speculate the announcement of the decision for her but we heard that the decision will be coming out and if they release it, it will be the CIDG who will lead the arrest.]

This is in contrary to the police's alleged constant vigilance and increased presence outside of the Senate when Trillanes refused to leaving its premises following an arrest order from the President in September.

In Trillanes' case, Albayalde admitted that they enforced preemptive measures awaiting the arrest warrant but said that not all police stationed at the Senate were necessarily tasked to guard the senator.

"Yung kay Trillanes it's not meant na parang to harass…Actually the Senate is being guarded by policemen talaga eh, meron talaga tayong naka-duty doon na pulis doon sa Senate not necessarily for Senator Trillanes. It was just a preemptive measure 'yung sa kanya just in case talagang lumabas (warrant)," he said.

[Translation: In Trillanes' case, it was not meant to harrass him supposedly…actually the Senate is really being guarded by policemen, we have policemen on duty there not necessarily for Trillanes. It was just a preemptive measure just in case the warrants comes out.]

Albayalde said they will still regard both officials with the "same respect" in serving arrests once Marcos' arrest order is finalized.

"We will accord the same respect just like what we accorded to Senator Trillanes and the former First Lady just in case na talagang ilabas 'yan (warrant) [they really issue the warrant]," the chief added.

Age and imprisonment

Vice President Leni Robredo also argued against allegations saying that Marcos has the opportunity to escape imprisonment due to her old age. She said the law does not exempt criminals aged 70 years and above from imprisonment, but only allows certain considerations.

"Medyo mahaba pa iyong proseso: may appeal pa, saka dahil sa age, mayroon nang ibang considerations. Pero mali iyong sinasabi nila na dahil lampas na ng 70 years old, hindi na makukulong," Robredo argued Sunday.

[Translation: The process may be long: You have an appeal, and because of age, there are other considerations but it is wrong to say that because you are 70 years old and above,  you will not be incarcerated. ]

The Vice President cited Chapter three of the Revised Penal Code which states that should the offender be under 18 or above 70 years of age, then it is a mitigating circumstance. Mitigating Circumstances refer to details that should be taken into consideration to diminish the penalty against the offender.

For Marcos' case in particular, Robredo argued that she shouldn't be exempted from imprisonment given that she considers herself strong enough to serve as Congresswoman.

"Kung ganiyan, nakakapunta pa nga sa Congress, nakaka-kandidato pa bilang gobernador, hindi siguro dahilan para hindi dapat ikulong," Robredo asserted.

[Translation: In this case - she can attend Congress, she can run for governor, then (age) shouldn't be the reason why she won't be jailed.]

Marcos currently holds the position of Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative. She also filed a certificate of candidacy for Ilocos Governor in the 2019 elections.

Apart from decades of imprisonment, Marcos' sentence includes prohibition from running for a position in the government. However, the Commission on Elections clarified that Marcos can still run until the sentence is ruled final and executory.