Concerns about Duterte granting pardon to Imelda Marcos 'speculative, premature' —Palace

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 11) — Concerns that President Rodrigo Duterte may grant pardon to Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos First Lady Imelda Marcos, who was recently convicted of graft, are "speculative and premature," Malacañang said Sunday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Sal Panelo said that the anti-graft court's decision is not yet final and Marcos will pursue legal actions to counter the ruling.

"The President has the constitutional authority to grant pardon to persons convicted by final judgment. It is not so in the case of Congresswoman Marcos, the decision of the anti-graft court not having attained finality," Panelo said.

"Her lawyers have stated the she will avail of legal remedies available to her to reverse the decision from the same court or higher courts," he added.

The Sandiganbayan on Friday ordered Marcos' arrest after it found her guilty of seven counts of graft. The 89-year-old widow of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos - known for her penchant for designer shoes and jewelry - was sentenced to imprisonment of a minimum of six years and one month to a maximum of 11 years "in each case" where she was found guilty. This means Marcos may stay in jail for a minimum of 42 years and 7 months and a maximum of 77 years.

READ: LOOK: Imelda Marcos parties with Sara Duterte, officials on night of conviction

Marcos, who is running for Ilocos Norte governor in the 2019 elections, was also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.

Panelo assured that the President "will consider the recommendation of the Board of Pardons and Parole" in granting pardon to convicts.

Malacañang earlier distanced itself from the Sandiganbayan decision, saying it does not interfere with the affairs of an independent branch of government.

Duterte enjoys a good relationship with the Marcos family and is even open about his admiration for the late dictator.

In 2016, the President allowed Marcos' body to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani--sparking outrage from different groups, especially the victims of atrocities during the martial law.

Duterte also previously said he prefers former Senator Bongbong Marcos, the couple's oldest son, to take over the presidency if he steps down.