MANILA - Malacañang on Sunday branded as "speculative" and "premature" some sectors' concerns that President Rodrigo Duterte will grant pardon to former First Lady Imelda Marcos who was recently convicted of graft.
Marcos has been found guilty of 7 counts of graft for using her Cabinet position to maintain Swiss bank accounts during her late husband Ferdinand Marcos' reign.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Sandiganbayan's decision is not yet final and that Marcos will appeal her conviction.
"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," he 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."
Panelo said the President will consider the recommendation of the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) in granting pardon to convicts.
"As matter of course and policy, the President, like his predecessors, weighs in all factors before exercising his right to grant clemencies," he said.
Panelo earlier said Duterte will not interfere in Marcos' case as he respects the rule of law.
"The President repeatedly has said we respect the rule of law. We will not interfere with the judiciary. And consistent with that, any violator of the law will be prosecuted fully until the end," he said.
Duterte has made no secret his admiration for the late dictator, a friend of his father, Vicente, who served in Marcos' Cabinet.
In November 2016, Duterte allowed the late strongman's burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in rites held away from public eye.
He has also said in case of his demise, he would prefer the late dictator's son and namesake, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., to be his replacement as president instead of his constitutional successor, Vice President Leni Robredo.