Imelda Marcos has been ordered arrested after the Philippine anti-corruption court found her guilty on seven counts of graft.
The 89-year-old widow of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was sentenced today (Friday, November 9) to up a maximum of 11 years on each count.
The total sentence handed down by the Sandiganbayan [anti-corruption court] would amount to a minimum of 42 years and seven months and a maximum of 77 years. She was also acquitted on three counts today.
Marcos, who is currently an Ilocos Norte Representative and is running to be governor of the province in next year’s elections, was also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.
However, Ombudsman Prosecutor Rey Quilala said she can still run until the Sandiganbayan’s decision becomes final and executory. The current Governor of Ilocos Norte – the traditional stronghold of the Marcos clan – is her daughter, Imee.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed 10 graft cases related to the Marcos family’s alleged funnelling of funds to private organisations she created in Switzerland while she was a official of her husband’s regime between 1968 and 1986.
Quilala said the Marcos family had “financial interest” in the seven Swiss foundations they created, with an estimated amount of $200 million.
The Sandiganbayan’s decision said the initiative to create these foundations was “evidently tainted with her private pecuniary interest”. This makes her guilty of the violation of the Article IX, Section 9, of the 1973 Constitution.
Imelda Marcos: ‘I will appeal’
The former first lady will be able to post bail, but the amount has not yet been fixed.
She has vowed to appeal against her conviction. In a statement today, she said: “Justice Lolong Lazaro, who has previously appeared as counsel in this case, will act as my counsel in the interim. He is presently studying the decision and has advised us that he intends to file a Motion for Reconsideration.”
The Sandiganbayan previously convicted Mrs Marcos of a graft case in 1993, but the Supreme Court overturned the anti-graft court’s decision in 2003, saving her from a 12-year prison sentence.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said today that he the decision underscored the impartiality of the justice system.
“The Executive Branch is not in the business of exerting undue interference or influence in the affairs of another separate and independent branch of the government,” he said.
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