Two aspirants in Tijam’s post deny special treatment to Meldy

Two Sandiganbayan justices eyeing the Supreme Court seat to be vacated by Associate Justice Noel Tijam on Wednesday disclosed that there was no special treatment given to former first lady Imelda Marcos when the latter was allowed to post bail on graft charges.

“Personally, I do not believe that there has been preferential treatment accorded to Mrs. Marcos,” anti-graft court Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang told the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) during a public interview.

‘These charges are bailable offenses and as a rule, even after conviction where cases are bailable, an accused may still be allowed provisional liberty,” Tang clarified.

The Sandiganbayan convicted the 89-year-old Ilocos lawmaker for several counts of graft, but was allowed to post a total of P300,000 in bail bonds pending appeal of her conviction.

For his part, Sandiganbayan Justice Efren Dela Cruz, another candidate for Tijam’s post, shared Tang’s statement.

“The policy in our court is whenever an accused is convicted of a bailable offense, we require that the accused post a double the amount of the bail and we will allow the accused to enjoy provisional liberty. That has been the policy of our court,” Dela Cruz said.

The Sandiganbayan 5th Division found Marcos guilty of seven counts of graft for using her position to maintain Swiss bank accounts during the rule of her husband, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

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