Ex-Filipino First Lady Imelda Marcos faces years behind bars

Evarado Alatorre
Noviembre 9, 2018

The Philippines' anti-corruption court on Friday ordered the arrest of former first lady Imelda Marcos after finding her guilty on seven counts of graft during the two-decade rule of her husband Ferdinand Marcos.

The verdict from the anti-graft Sandiganbayan court orders her to serve a minimum of six years behind bars for each of the seven charges that the Marcoses funnelled roughly $200 million through Swiss foundations decades ago.

Neither Marcos nor her lawyers were present when the Sandiganbayan justices promulgated the decision to convict her for seven counts of graft.

The conviction also perpetually disqualified her from holding public office, meaning she will have to step down from her current position in the House of Representatives, where she is serving a third term.

The family fled to Hawaii in 1986 when the army and the Philippine people turned against the president in a bloodless popular revolt.

"He is presently studying the decision and has advised us that he intends to file a motion for reconsideration", she added.

The case has been pending with the anti-graft court for 27 years.

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Imelda Marcos was acquitted on Friday in three other cases, which were filed in 1991 and took almost three decades of trial by several judges and prosecutors. Imelda Marcos in particular was known for her flaunting her opulent lifestyle while the country languished in poverty and civil unrest.

"This points to how long and therefore frustrating the Philippine judicial system is", said opposition lawmaker Francis Pangilinan.

Marcos can also raise the decision to the Supreme Court if she finds grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Sandiganbayan.

The family matriarch seeks to replace her daughter Imee Marcos as provincial governor, while Imee is gunning for a Senate seat.

The Marcos family's ill-gotten wealth "is estimated between US$5 billion to US$10 billion, the bulk of it being deposited and hidden overseas", according to the the Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG).

The family's notoriety stems back to Ferdinand Marcos declaring martial law in 1972.

He has put the count under protest and hopes to run for president after Duterte's term ends in mid-2022.

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