IMELDA WARNED: REPORT TO SANDIGAN OR ELSEQuezon City, April 10, 2003 -- The Sandiganbayan has warned Imelda Marcos that she would not be allowed to go abroad should she continue to refuse to appear personally before the anti-graft court upon arrival, the PCGG said yesterday. According to a two-page minute of proceedings held last March 25, Associate Judges Gregory Ong, Rodolfo Palattao, and Ma. Cristina Cortez-Estrada of the Fourth Division said that "to our mind, the reason given by the accused (Marcos) for dispensing with such an appearance is not persuasive." "The personal appearance of the accused before the Division Clerk of Court as required in the fourth and fifth conditions imposed in the subject resolution cannot be peremptorily disregarded," the three said. Mrs. Marcos filed a manifestation and motion last January 21 through counsel Robert Sison after her arrival but she cited certain "threats and risks" to her life in appearing before the Sandiganbayan. But the fourth division countered that "(it) cannot be any more serious or graver than the threat or risk she is subjected to when she moves around or goes to other places or destinations. "If the accused is confident enough about the security risk she is assuming in going to the airport ... surely she is not expected to feel any less confident or any more fearful traveling to the premises of the Sandiganbayan," the court said. "If the accused would maintain otherwise, then this court would have serious misgivings about allowing her to travel abroad in the future," it added. One of the conditions imposed by the anti-graft court for allowing her to leave the country is that she personally appear before the Sandiganbayan upon her return to the country. Mrs. Marcos went to China in July last year , for "herbal medications." From Dec. 16, 2002 to Jan. 16, 2003, she was allowed to seek medical treatment in the United States. On both occasions, she failed to appear before the court on her arrival, as required.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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