Imelda Marcos Is Sentenced to Decades in Prison for Corruption

Imelda Marcos Is Sentenced to Decades in Prison for Corruption
Imelda Marcos convicted of graft, court orders her arrest
next Image 1 of 2FILE – 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 to lend her support for her daughter Governor Imee Marcos in filing her Certificate of Candidacy or COC for a Senate seat in the May 2019 midterm elections in Manila, Philippines. A Philippine court found former first lady Imelda Marcos guilty of graft and ordered her arrest Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in a rare conviction among many corruption cases that shes likely to appeal to avoid jail and losing her seat in Congress. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

prev Image 2 of 2FIE – In this Aug. 28, 2017, file photo, former Philippines first lady and now Congresswoman Imelda Marcos visits the gravesite of her late husband former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes Cemetery in observance of National Heroes Day in suburban Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines. A Philippine court found former first lady Imelda Marcos guilty of graft and ordered her arrest Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 in a rare conviction among many corruption cases that shes likely to appeal to avoid jail and losing her seat in Congress. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

A spokesman for Mr. Duterte, Salvador Panelo, said Friday that the president respected the courts decision. 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 that favors no one, Mr. Panelo said.

Philippine court orders arrest of ex-first lady Imelda Marcos for graft

MANILA, Philippines – A Philippine court found former first lady Imelda Marcos guilty of graft and ordered her arrest Friday in a rare conviction among many corruption cases that she's likely to appeal to avoid jail and losing her seat in Congress.

The charges were filed in 1991, when state prosecutors accused Mrs. Marcos of creating private foundations in Switzerland and having financial interests in several companies when she was governor of Manila between 1978 and 1984. Prosecutors said the fake firms hid money that her family stole from the government.

The special anti-graft Sandiganbayan court sentenced Marcos, 89, to serve 6 to 11 years in prison for each of the seven counts of violating an anti-corruption law when she illegally funneled about $200 million to Swiss foundations in the 1970s as Metropolitan Manila governor.

But it is unlikely that Ms. Marcos, a 89-year-old widow, will see any jail time. The court, which handles graft and public corruption cases, said the ruling could be appealed, and legal experts have said Ms. Marcos could fight a prison sentence because of her advanced age.

Neither Marcos nor anyone representing her attended Friday's court hearing. No one has issued any reaction on her behalf although her lawyers were expected to appeal the ruling, which anti-Marcos activists and human rights victims welcomed as long overdue.

The Marcoses political fortunes surged after Mr. Duterte was elected president two years ago. Mr. Duterte, who often describes himself as a fan of the late dictator, has credited the Marcos family with consolidating support for him in the north.

The court disqualified Marcos from holding public office, but she can remain a member of the powerful House of Representatives while appealing the decision. Her congressional term will end next year but she has registered to run to replace her daughter as governor of northern Ilocos Norte province.

"I was jumping up and down in joy in disbelief," said former Commission on Human Rights chairwoman Loretta Ann Rosales, who was among many activists locked up after Imelda's husband, former President Ferdinand Marcos, declared martial law in the Philippines in 1972.

Rosales said the decision was a huge setback to efforts by the Marcos family to revise history by denying many of the atrocities under the dictatorship, and urged Filipinos to fight all threats against democracy and civil liberties.

I am literally jumping with joy, Ms. Rosales said in an interview. She said the ruling showed that there were still public corruption judges who have helped keep the candles lit through these dark nights and pursued the truth.

Imelda Marcos' husband was ousted by an army-backed "people power" revolt in 1986. He died in self-exile in Hawaii in 1989 but his widow and children returned to the Philippines. Most have been elected to public offices in an impressive political comeback.

Loretta Ann Rosales, the countrys former human rights commissioner, who was tortured as an activist in the 1970s for opposing Mr. Marcos, called the sentence a symbolic victory for the thousands who died resisting the dictatorship.

Government prosecutor Ryan Quilala told reporters that Marcos and her husband opened and managed Swiss foundations in violation of the Philippine Constitution, using aliases in a bid to hide stolen funds. The Marcoses have been accused of plundering the government's coffers amid crushing poverty. They have denied any wrongdoing and have successfully fought many other corruption cases.

The government successfully recovered some $658 million that the Marcoses held in Swiss financial institutions. But officials believe that is just a fraction of the roughly $10 billion they say the Marcoses stole from the Philippines.

Imelda Marcos was acquitted Friday in three other cases, which were filed in 1991 and took nearly three decades of trial by several judges and prosecutors. She was once convicted of a graft case in 1993, but the Supreme Court later cleared her of any wrongdoing.

President Rodrigo Duterte, an ally of the Marcoses, said last year the Marcos family had indicated a willingness to return a still-unspecified amount of money and "a few gold bars" to help ease budget deficits. He indicated the family still denied that the assets had been stolen as alleged by political opponents.

The court found her guilty of seven counts of graft, with each count punishable by a minimum of six years in prison. The ruling also automatically disqualifies Mrs. Marcos, who is a congresswoman, from holding any public office.

Ferdinand Marcos had placed the Philippines under martial rule a year before his term was to expire. He padlocked Congress, ordered the arrest of political rivals and left-wing activists and ruled by decree. His family is said to have amassed an estimated $5 billion to $10 billion while he was in power.

A Hawaii court found Marcos liable for human rights violations and awarded $2 billion from his estate to compensate more than 9,000 Filipinos who filed a lawsuit against him for torture, incarceration, extrajudicial killings and disappearances.

She said the ruling also proved that the Marcoses and their cronies were guilty of raiding government coffers in order to enjoy a lavish lifestyle while millions of Filipinos lived in poverty.

Duterte has acknowledged that Imee Marcos, the couple's daughter and a provincial governor, backed his presidential candidacy.

MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine court found former first lady Imelda Marcos guilty of graft and ordered her arrest Friday in a rare conviction among many corruption cases that shes likely to appeal to avoid jail and losing her seat in Congress.

The special anti-graft Sandiganbayan court sentenced Marcos, 89, to serve 6 to 11 years in prison for each of the seven counts of violating an anti-corruption law when she illegally funneled about $200 million to Swiss foundations in the 1970s as Metropolitan Manila governor.

Neither Marcos — famous for her huge collection of shoes, jewelry and artwork — nor anyone representing her attended Fridays court hearing. No one has issued any reaction on her behalf, although her lawyers were expected to appeal the ruling, which anti-Marcos activists and human rights victims welcomed as long overdue.

The court disqualified Marcos from holding public office, but she can remain a member of the powerful House of Representatives while appealing the decision. Her congressional term will end next year but she has registered to run to replace her daughter as governor of northern Ilocos Norte province.

The family was subsequently allowed to return home, where they re-established a political base in their hometown, Ilocos Norte, in the northern Philippines.

“I was jumping up and down in joy in disbelief,” said former Commission on Human Rights chairwoman Loretta Ann Rosales, who was among many activists locked up after Imeldas husband, former President Ferdinand Marcos, declared martial law in the Philippines in 1972.

The prosecutors wrapped up their presentation in 2015, but Mrs. Marcoss lawyers successfully delayed the hearings by not appearing in court.

Rosales said the decision was a huge setback to efforts by the Marcos family to revise history by denying many of the atrocities under the dictatorship, and urged Filipinos to fight all threats against democracy and civil liberties.

Imelda Marcos husband was ousted by an army-backed “people power” revolt in 1986. He died in self-exile in Hawaii in 1989 but his widow and children returned to the Philippines. Most have been elected to public offices in an impressive political comeback.

Mrs. Marcos did not appear in court for the sentencing. She was given a month to explain her absence.

Government prosecutor Ryan Quilala told reporters that Marcos and her husband opened and managed Swiss foundations in violation of the Philippine Constitution, using aliases in a bid to hide stolen funds. The Marcoses have been accused of plundering the governments coffers amid crushing poverty. They have denied any wrongdoing and have successfully fought many other corruption cases.

Imelda Marcos was acquitted Friday in three other cases, which were filed in 1991 and took nearly three decades of trial by several judges and prosecutors. She was once convicted of a graft case in 1993, but the Supreme Court later cleared her of any wrongdoing.

President Rodrigo Duterte, an ally of the Marcoses, said last year the Marcos family had indicated a willingness to return a still-unspecified amount of money and “a few gold bars” to help ease budget deficits. He indicated the family still denied that the assets had been stolen as alleged by political opponents.

Duterte has acknowledged that Imee Marcos, the couples daughter and a provincial governor, backed his presidential candidacy. The Reuters news agency notes that she frequently accompanies him to official events.

Reuters reports that Dutertes spokesperson, Salvador Panelo, said the ruling against Imelda Marcos was proof that Duerte “is not in the business of exerting undue interference or influence” on courts, and he respects the decision.

Duterte permitted the moving of Ferdinand Marcos body to a special heroes cemetery in 2016, Reuters adds.

Ferdinand Marcos had placed the Philippines under martial rule a year before his term was to expire. He padlocked Congress, ordered the arrest of political rivals and left-wing activists and ruled by decree. His family is said to have amassed an estimated $5 billion to $10 billion while he was in power.

A Hawaii court found Marcos liable for human rights violations and awarded $2 billion from his estate to compensate more than 9,000 Filipinos who filed a lawsuit against him for torture, incarceration, extrajudicial killings and disappearances.


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