Imelda knee steals show at Sandigan

By Cheryl M. Arcibal, Reporter

Lifting a leg of her trousers to reveal a bandaged left knee, the former first lady, Imelda Marcos, showed up on Thursday at the Sandigan­bayan and tearfully complained she was in pain.

Marcos also denounced the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) for allegedly harassing her.

Wearing a white pearl ring and matching earrings, a black-flowing blouse with matching black pants and shoes, Marcos arrived at the court accompanied by her lawyer, Robert Sison, the cardiologist Roberto Anastacio and two personal assistants.

She showed reporters, photographers and video cameramen her bandaged knee, which she said needed immediate medical attention.

“I am in pain. I can’t go up [the stairs to the courtroom on the second floor]. I can only take the elevator,” Marcos said.

She was at the Sandiganbayan to comply with a condition in her travel authority granted by the court’s Fourth and Fifth Divisions. She was ordered to appear before their clerks of court within five days of arriving in the country. She arrived on Wednesday morning.

“This is the most harassed and stressful trip I’ve ever had in my whole life,” the 75-year-old widow of President Ferdinand Marcos said, alluding to the PCGG’s threat to have her arrested on her return from her travels abroad.

The PCGG, created in 1986 after the fall of the dictatorship to recover the ill-gotten wealth of Marcos and his cronies, was displeased with her unauthorized side trips to London ostensibly for health reasons.

Marcos admitted she went to Europe in violation of the court-issued travel permit to the United States to seek medical attention. “But still I’m thankful that I was able to fulfill my pledge of a spiritual pilgrimage. I went to the Vatican City, France and Portugal and I thanked the Blessed Virgin Mary for her blessings,” she said.

Marcos lashed out at the government, complaining that after the authorities took everything from her family, “they now want to take my sight away.” She was alluding to a ruling of the Fourth Division which denied her plea to extend her one-month travel by 17 more days, or from September 26 up to November 12.

She wanted a follow-up eye examination by Dr. William Boozan of the LASIK Refractive Surgery in New York, as well as take a side trip to London for a scheduled knee checkup with a certain Dr. David Sweetnam of the Wellington Hospital.

Marcos blamed the PCGG for creating the public impression that she would be arrested on arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

She welcomed, however, the proposal of President Arroyo for her to forge a reconciliation with the government in a bid to move the country forward.

“I have always asked for reconciliation. Unity is always good for the country,” Marcos said. “All I want from this government is justice and to do what is right.”

Special Prosecution Officer III Rabendranath Uy has asked the court to cancel Marcos’s bail and travel bonds to pave the way for her arrest.

In his motion, Uy said Marcos’s violation of the court’s ruling for her to come back by October 26 was “sufficient ground” for her arrest.

PCGG chair Haydee Yorac apparently was not moved by Marcos’s emotional display at the Sandiganbayan.

Yorac said Marcos should not blame the PCGG because she defied the 30-day leave condition set by the court.

“The one that imposed the terms of her trip abroad was the Sandiganbayan, not the PCGG. It was she who did not comply with the terms set by the Sandiganbayan. It’s the Sandiganbayan that’s going to punish her. But of course, we want to see her punished,” Yorac said in an interview.

Yorac said the PCGG will oppose any motion from Marcos to travel again.

“I don’t want to speculate on what she does abroad, I don’t care what she does abroad. For all we know, there are one thousand and one reasons why she went abroad, but the thing is she must face the charges against her and she must comply with the terms of the permission to leave for abroad,” Yorac said.

Marcos is facing various charges that she and her husband stole billions of dollars from the country’s coffers while they were in power.
--With Patricia Esteves

14/11/2003

Bron : Manila Times Internet Edition

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