Quezon City, Jan. 25, 2003 - Former First Lady Imelda Marcos cancelled a one-month trip to the United States last December because of death threats she allegedly had been receiving from the communist New People's Army.

Imelda's lawyer, Robert Sison, told the Sandiganbayan in a statement that the 73-year-old widow of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos did not travel to the US for medical treatment last Dec. 16, despite being granted permission, partly because of the "recurring threats to her life and to her family."

Aside from the alleged death threats that she and her family have been receiving, she also cited poor health as another reason for not going on the trip.

"Due to poor health, not to mention recurring threats to her life and of her family, accused failed travel for the reason sought in her motion to travel," the two-page manifestation and motion said.

The former first lady even forwarded to the court a copy of her passport to show proof that she did not leave the country. Her lawyer vowed to present very soon the original passport to the divisions clerks of court.

Imelda's daughter, Ilocos Norte Rep. Imee Marcos, yesterday confirmed the death threats to their family allegedly by the NPA.

"It was (my) mother's concern. It was still the same threat as before, nothing's new..., issued by Ka Roger that they will kidnap a Marcos for trial," the lawmaker said.

Imelda last month asked the court to allow her to travel to the US to seek medical treatment for hypertensive heart disease, diabetes mellitus and glaucoma. The request for travel was based on her doctor's recommendation.

On Dec. 12, the three divisions of the Sandiganbayan, where the former first lady is facing graft charges in connection with the alleged Marcos ill-gotten wealth, granted her request to leave the country as they found the request "meritorious."

Prior to the granting of her US trip, the court also allowed Imelda to leave for China and Hong Kong to seek "alternative Oriental medicine."

Imelda is facing dozens of criminal charges and civil lawsuits over allegations that she, her husband and associates illegally amassed more than $5 billion during her husband's two decades in power. She has denied any wrongdoing.

Graft charges against Imelda were in connection with four off-shore foundations she allegedly put up with her late husband during their 20-year reign from 1966 to 1986. (Tribune)

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