Mar­cos, 89, gets long prison term

PLANS TO AP­PEAL TO ANTI­GRAFT COURT Court or­ders her to serve a min­i­mum of six years for each of seven charges.

The Citizen (KZN) - - FRONT PAGE - Manila

Imelda Mar­cos was found guilty of cor­rup­tion yes­ter­day and handed a lengthy prison term in a rare con­vic­tion for the for­mer Philip­pine first lady ac­cused with her late dic­ta­tor hus­band of em­bez­zling bil­lions of dol­lars from state cof­fers.

How­ever, it was un­likely 89-year-old Mar­cos would spend much time be­hind bars as she is al­lowed to ap­peal the rul­ing and can re­main free on bail as long as the con­vic­tion is not fi­nal.

The ver­dict from the anti­graft Sandi­gan­bayan court or­dered her to serve a min­i­mum of six years be­hind bars for each of the seven charges that the Mar­coses fun­nelled $200 mil­lion (about R2.8 bil­lion) through Swiss foun­da­tions decades ago.

This leaves her po­ten­tially fac­ing decades in prison, how­ever the ex­act length of the term was not im­me­di­ately clear.

Fer­di­nand Mar­cos, who along with his cronies was ac­cused of pil­fer­ing $10 bil­lion from the Philip­pines, fled with his fam­ily to the US af­ter a peo­ple’s up­ris­ing ended his 20-year rule in 1986.

Mar­cos died in 1989 while still in ex­ile. But his heirs later re­turned to Manila and have since staged a po­lit­i­cal come­back. Imelda Mar­cos is cur­rently a con­gress­woman.

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

“The cou­ple opened all those ac­counts in Switzer­land, and they used pseu­do­nyms to hide their own­er­ship.

“The pres­i­dent chose Wil­liam Saun­ders and Imelda Mar­cos used Jane Ryan,” spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor Ryan Quilala said.

Mar­cos said her lawyer Manuel Lazaro plans to lodge an ap­peal with the anti­graft court.

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

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

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