Imelda Marcos, 89-year-old widow of Philippine dictator, faces jail time for graft

Imelda Marcos, the widow of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, has been found guilty of graft and is facing arrest and a jail term of at least six-years.

The incumbent lawmaker — known for her collection of more than 1,000 pairs of shoes — was found guilty of seven counts of graft for allegedly maintaining Swiss accounts as a cabinet member during her husband’s rule, the country’s anti-corruption court decided on Friday. Marcos plans to appeal the ruling.

The court’s decision came 27 years after the case was first filed. Marcos, 89, faces imprisonment of between six and 11 years for each count of graft — the second time she’s been convicted out of dozens of cases filed against the family.

In this Oct. 16, 2018, file photo, former Philippines first lady and widow of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Congresswoman Imelda Marcos arrives at the Commission on Elections.

She was first convicted by the anti-graft court in 1993, seven years after the popular revolution that ousted her husband and sent the family to exile in Hawaii. In 1998, the Supreme Court acquitted Imelda from allegations that she entered anomalous contracts during her husband’s term, reversing the anti-court’s ruling. She can also elevate this latest case before the top court and post bail.

Her lawyer is studying the decision “and has advised us that he intends to file a motion for reconsideration,” Marcos said in a statement.

The Marcos family is a known supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte. The Philippine leader had said that he wants to be succeeded by the late dictator’s son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, who has a pending electoral protest after losing the vice-presidential vote in 2016. Duterte also has the power to pardon Marcos after a final court ruling.

This file photo taken on February 16, 2001 shows Philippines’ former first lady Imelda Marcos as she looks at her shoe collection, after formally opening the suburban Marikina Shoe Museum in Manila.

“While we note that there are still legal remedies available to Congresswoman Marcos, this latest development underscores that our country currently has a working and impartial justice system,” Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement. Duterte had been accused of targeting his enemies, including Senator Leila de Lima who’s been in jail since last year.

The Supreme Court in June junked a case that alleged the Marcos widow accumulated ill-gotten wealth. Friday’s decision bars the former first lady from any public office unless she pursues an appeal with the top court.

Imelda Marcos returned to the Philippines in 1991, during the administration of Corazon Aquino, to face more than 100 criminal and civil cases on charges that she and her husband siphoned off $5 billion-to-$10 billion and committed human rights violations during the 20-year dictatorship. Instead, she and two children — Bongbong and Imee — were later elected to office. Bongbong became a senator in 2010. Imelda and her children have always denied any wrongdoing.

With assistance from Cecilia Yap.


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