Imelda Mar­cos guilty of 1970s cor­rup­tion

For­mer Philip­pines first lady faces jail, ouster from of­fice

Boston Herald - - NEWS -

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

The spe­cial anti-graft Sandi­gan­bayan court sen­tenced Mar­cos, 89, to serve six 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 nor any­one rep­re­sent­ing her at­tended yes­ter­day’s court hear­ing.

Mar­cos said in a state­ment that the de­ci­sion was be­ing stud­ied by one of her lawyers who no­ti­fied the Mar­cos fam­ily that he in­tends to ap­peal the de­ci­sion. Anti-Mar­cos ac­tivists and hu­man rights vic­tims wel­comed the con­vic­tion 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.

“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.

Imelda Mar­cos’ hus­band was ousted by an army­backed “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.

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.

AFP

MARKED WOMAN: A man wear­ing a Zorro cos­tume holds a photo of for­mer Philip­pines first lady Imelda Mar­cos dur­ing a protest at the Uni­ver­sity of Philip­pines in Manila yes­ter­day, af­ter Mar­cos, a mem­ber of the na­tion’s Con­gress, was found guilty of cor­rup­tion.

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