By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Convicted former First Lady and incumbent Ilocos Norte Rep. lmelda Romualdez Marcos on Thursday decided to withdraw from the gubernatorial race next year.
In a flash report by radio DZBB, Marcos’ grandson, incumbent provincial Board Member Matthew Marcos Manotoc made a last-minute replacement and will be the one to run as Ilocos Norte Governor under the Partido Nacionalista (NP) following Thursday’s deadline of substitution for aspirants who have earlier withdrew their Certificate of Candidacy (COC).
The withdrawal of Mrs. Marcos from her gubernatorial bid came 20 days following her graft conviction at the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division.
The 89-year old former First Lady last November 9 was sentenced to prison between six years and one month to 11 years for each of the seven counts of graft for using her previous cabinet position to maintain multiple Swiss bank accounts.
Marcos, widow of former President and late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, served as Minister of Human Settlement during the latter part of her late husband’s regime.
Aside from imprisonment, the court also ordered Marcos’ perpetual disqualification from holding any position in the government.
Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez earlier stressed that while a final conviction could bar an individual from running for public office “if there’s any appeal, or if it’s not a final decision, then it won’t fit the criteria for disqualification.”
The said condition according to Jimenez is applicable to all candidates including that of the Ilocos Norte solon.
On Tuesday, the camp of Marcos notified the anti-graft court of her plans to appeal her graft at the Supreme Court.
In her Notice to Appeal ad Cautelam, Marcos asked the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division to transmit all the records of her case before the high tribunal.