Ex-Filipino First Lady Imelda Marcos faces years behind bars
10 November, 2018, 06:13 | Author: Sheila Harris
MALACAÑANG on Friday said it respected the conviction of former first lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Romualdez Marcos after the Sandiganbayan found her guilty for seven counts of graft.
An anti-graft court has ordered Imelda Marcos to serve a minimum of six years behind bars over US$200 million funnelled through Swiss foundations decades ago.
But Marcos, 89, famous for a huge collection of shoes, jewellery and artwork, can avoid arrest and remain free if she appeals the decision and if denied, she can challenge it at the Supreme Court.
The family fled to Hawaii in 1986 when the army and the Philippine people turned against the president in a bloodless popular revolt.
However, neither Imelda nor any of her lawyers were present during the promulgation of the decision.
Marcos maintained accounts with the Swiss Bank Corporation for the said foundations "for the benefit of the accused and her late husband", according to the charge sheets.
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. She was acquitted on a further three counts of graft.
Congressman Tom Villarin of the opposition Akbayan Party said Marcos "can't invoke her age nor humanitarian grounds for her not to serve the sentence".
The court said Imelda, now a member of the Philippine House of Representatives, can have a provisional liberty if she posts a cash bond while appealing the conviction.
However, she can still appeal the conviction.
Former first lady Imelda Marcos waving to the crowd as she arrives for her son vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s "miting-de-avance" in Manila.
"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.
Imelda and Ferdinand's daughter Imee Marcos is the governor of the family's northern stronghold of Ilocos Norte province and helped bankroll the 2016 election campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte, according to him.
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".
The case has been pending with the anti-graft court for 27 years.
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