Imelda Marcos faces arrest for graft

Imelda Marcos. Jonathan Cellona ABS-CBN News

Imelda Marcos. Jonathan Cellona ABS-CBN News

The court ordered Marcos, a congresswoman, to serve six to 11 years in jail for each of the seven counts of graft.

According to the Associated Press, the court has disqualified her from holding public office, but she will retain her House seat while she appeals the ruling.

Marcos, who is serving her third straight term as a member of congress, has registered to contest an election to succeed her daughter, Imee Marcos, 62, as governor of Ilocos Norte, the stronghold of the still powerful Marcos family. She has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court and her lawyers... The documents showed that the couple had created supposed charitable foundations in Liechtenstein and elsewhere, which they then used to open secret bank accounts in Switzerland. She was given 30 days by the anti-graft court to explain her absence.

As a government official in the Marcos administration, Imelda was barred by law from having any outside financial interests, including in the Swiss foundations.

Neither Marcos nor her lawyers were present at the promulgation of the decision.

She is now a member of the House of Representatives for Ilocos Norte.

As well as being first lady, she was the minister of human settlements from 1976 to 1986 and governor of Manila from 1978 to 1984.

"We presented former Prime Minister Cesar Virata, and according to his testimony eh hindinaman directly ma-pinpoint 'yung participation ni First Lady, so hindi ganun kasama ang loob namin as to the local corporations, (he can not directly pinpoint the participation of the First Lady, so we are not that dissatisfied with the results as to the local corporations)", he said.

Ferdinand Marcos was elected as the president of the Philippines in 1965, but declared martial law in 1972 heralding a dictatorial regime.

Marcos critics rejoiced at the news of the conviction, which came almost three decades after the case was filed in 1991.

Panelo said while the Palace noted that there were "still legal remedies available" to Marcos, "this latest development underscores that our country now has a working and impartial justice system that favors no one".

"As such, we manifest our respect to the decision of the Sandiganbayan finding former First Lady and incumbent Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos guilty of the seven out of the ten cases filed against her", he added.

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