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17th of November 2018

Economy



Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos convicted of graft

A Philippine court has ordered the arrest of former first lady Imelda Marcos, whose name became a byword for ostentatious wealth, after she was found guilty of graft.

Mrs Marcos, widow to late autocrat Ferdinand Marcos and famous for her vast shoe collection, was on Friday found guilty of seven counts of graft linked to illegal transfers of funds to Swiss foundations when serving in her husband’s government. She faces six to 11 years in prison for each of the seven counts.

The ruling, which is her second graft conviction, also disqualifies her from holding public office. She was previously convicted in 1993 on two counts of corruption but was acquitted by the Supreme Court five years later.

The flamboyant former first lady and her dictator husband ruled the Philippines for two decades and were accused of siphoning billions of dollars from the impoverished nation.

Mrs Marcos said in a statement that her lawyer was “studying the decision and has advised us that he intends to file a motion for reconsideration”. This would allow her to avoid detention and retain her congressional seat. It would also mean she could continue her bid to become governor in her home province of Ilocos Norte in 2019.

Filadelfo Diaz, Mrs Marcos’s chief-of-staff, said: “We have not received a copy of the decision so we defer giving comments until then.”

Mrs Marcos has been a vocal supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has the authority to pardon her, enabling her to avoid jail time.

The president has also declared his support for Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, Mrs Marcos’s son, who is challenging the result of his failed 2016 vice-presidential bid and declared his intention to run for the presidency when Mr Duterte’s term expires in 2022.

In 2016, the president allowed the remains of Ferdinand Marcos to be buried in a heroes’ cemetery despite huge protests.

Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law from 1972 to 1981 following a series of bombings in the capital of Manila. According to one estimate, more than 3,000 people were killed by the military between 1975 and 1985.

Mrs Marcos, a former beauty queen, was governor of Manila during her husband’s rule as well as minister of human settlements.

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