Thursday, 22 November, 2018

Ex-Filipino First Lady Imelda Marcos faces years behind bars

Imelda Marcos. Jonathan Cellona ABS-CBN News Imelda Marcos. Jonathan Cellona ABS-CBN News
Deanna Wagner | 09 November, 2018, 13:53

The former first lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, has been sentenced by a Manila court to decades in prison for corruption, 32 years after she and her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, were forced from power in a popular uprising.

An arrest warrant has been filed for Imelda Marcos after the former Philippines First Lady failed to appear in court at the end of her corruption trial, according to a court official.

"Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused, Imelda R. Marcos, guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violation of R.A. No. 3019 Section 3 (h)... whereby she is sentenced in each case to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of six years and one month, as minimum, to 11 years, as maximum, with perpetual disqualification from holding public office", the dispositive portion of the decision read.

The Office of the Ombudsman filed 10 graft cases from 1991 to 1995, stemming from the alleged private organizations Marcos created in Switzerland from 1968 to 1984 while she held various posts in government.

She was charged with making seven bank transfers totalling 200 million dollars to Swiss foundations during her term as Manila governor.

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"Nagkaroon po siya ng financial interests sa mga foundations na ito. Na-trace po 'yung flow ng pera", he said in an ambush interview on Friday.

Former human rights chair and martial law survivor Etta Rosales lauded the Sandiganbayan Fifth Divison for upholding their constitutional mandate, even if it took them two long decades to issue a verdict. Chairperson Emeritus Etta Rosales said, "This legal victory is a two-decade struggle by the courageous Filipino people". It has always been an uphill struggle, then all of a sudden, here it is after so much work.

Neither Marcos nor anyone representing her attended Friday's court hearing.

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.

Quilala said that he considers her Swiss account convictions as a "victory" despite her acquittal in three other graft charges.