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Sandiganbayan finds Imelda Marcos guilty of graft; orders arrest

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, November 9th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Imelda Marcos

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division on Friday (November 9) ordered the arrest of former First Lady and Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Imelda Marcos after she was found guilty of seven counts of graft.

The anti-graft court sentenced the 89-year-old former First Lady to a minimum of six years to a maximum prison term of 11 years for each count of graft with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

The decision was in connection with a case filed in 1991 when Marcos was charged with 10 counts of graft for having financial interests in creating private institutions in Switzerland and maintaining Swiss bank accounts from 1978 to 1984 while still holding several positions in the government.

The case particularly referred to Marcos’ position as then Governor of Metro Manila and Minister of Human Settlements.

The anti-graft court, however, acquitted her in three graft cases.

Among the evidence presented by the prosecution was the sworn statement of former Solicitor General Frank Chavez detailing how the former First Lady utilized their Swiss foundations to amass millions of dollars in ill-gotten wealth.

The documents also included bank records and some hand-written letters of the Marcoses addressed to foreign banks.

“There were seven Swiss foundations that were created by the Marcoses. Doon pumapasok iyong mga foreign currencies. They’d close one, then they’d transfer doon sa isa. These seven foundations ay connected sa isa’t isa,” said prosecution member Atty. Rey Quilala.

The trial on the case is the longest in the anti-graft court’s history reaching nearly three decades or 26 years.

Marcos and her legal team did not attend the promulgation. The court said Marcos can post bail while appealing the conviction and has given her 30 days to explain her absence in the proceedings before the formal issuance of warrant of arrest.

“May remedies pa naman po si First Lady. If she avails for those remedies pwede pa rin siyang makatakbo..Pwede niyang iakyat sa Supreme Court kapag may nakita siyang grave abuse of discretion doon sa desisyon ng Sandiganbayan. Hindi pa ho siya final and executory,” Quilala explained.

“Kapag nagpakita naman siya sa court, pwedeng i-lift ang warrant of arrest,” he added.

In a statement issued later in the afternoon, Rep. Marcos confirmed that she received a copy of the anti-graft court’s decision.

She explained that her lawyer was in the hospital and so they were not able to attend the promulgation.

Nevertheless, she assured to appeal the decision by filing a motion for reconsideration.

“My Attorney of Record, Atty. Robert Sison, has been indisposed and is presently confined at the Asian Hospital. Justice Lolong Lazaro, who has previously appeared as counsel in this case, will act as my counsel in the interim. He is presently studying the decision and has advised us that he intends to file a Motion for Reconsideration,” the former First Lady said. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Casin)

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Water could have sickened guests in Imelda Marcos’ birthday party – DOH

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, July 5th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is now testing samples of the drinking water served to guests in the birthday party of former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

The test is to determine what could have caused stomach pains, nausea, and vomiting among the guests in Marcos’ birthday party at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City on Tuesday (July 2).

“Ite-test din natin kung mayroong bacteria o kung contamination iyong tubig (We will test (the water) for possible bacteria or contamination),” explained DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo.

“Kasi maaaring hindi lamang sa pagkain. Maaaring sa tubig ito nanggaling (Because it may not just be from food. It could also be from the water),” he added.

Domingo said the test may take to about three to five days so they may be able to release the result by early next week. – with details from Aiko Miguel

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PhilHealth to shoulder hospital expenses of victims of food poisoning

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 4th, 2019

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) assured to shoulder the hospital expenses of the victims of food poisoning at the birthday celebration of former first lady Imelda Marcos.

PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales said all victims who are PhilHealth members and are confined in private and public hospitals can avail their benefits.

“PhilHealth pays up to P6,000 for food poisoning or acute gastroenteritis with moderate to severe dehydration when confined in any PhilHealth accredited hospital,” he said.

Meanwhile, non-members can avail the Point of Service (POS) Program in government hospitals.

“We want to assure those affected that in case hospitalization is required, they can bank on their PhilHealth coverage for financial protection,” Morales adds.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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DOH suspects eggs served at Imelda’s birthday behind food poisoning

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 4th, 2019

The pre-packed lunch consisting of rice with chicken adobo and egg that is suspected to have caused the poisoning of over guests at former first lady Imelda Marcos’s birthday celebration on July 2, 2019

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said the egg served during former first lady Imelda Marcos’s birthday celebration may have caused the food poisoning of over 200 guests.

“It could have come from the eggs, because the most common report is that the eggs tasted rotten, if not spoiled. It could be contamination already,” according to Duque.

Victims said they have eaten rice with chicken adobo and egg. One of the guests, Alice Cañarez, recalled that the said food was served first.

“Marami pong nag-donate ng pagkain. Although iyong talagang naunang kainin ng mga tao ay iyong cater po na naka-packed lunch, (Many have donated food. Although the first one served was the packed lunch),” she said.

The health department is currently examining the food and water served during the birthday celebration.

They will also monitor the situation of the victims even after their discharge from the hospital. Duque said they will monitor the victims’ oral re-hydration until they fully recover.

Meanwhile in a statement, former Senator Bongbong Marcos apologized for the incident and assured they will provide assistance to the victims of food poisoning.

“Kami po ay nakikipag-ugnayan sa mga maaapektuhan at patuloy na umaasikaso sa kanila. Ako po ay humihingi ng pahumanhin at lubos na pag-unawa sa nangyaring ito. Makakaasa po kayo sa aming tulong hanggang sa ang lahat ay tuluyang gumaling, (We are coordinating with the affected individuals and continuing to assist them. I apologize and ask for your understanding. We assure to provide assistance until everyone fully recover)” he said.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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