Ex-Filipino First Lady Imelda Marcos faces years behind bars

Former First Lady and incumbent Ilocos Norte 2nd District Rep. Imelda Marcos was handed a guilty verdict by the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division Friday morning due to her financial interests in several foundations created in Switzerland during the Marcos administration.

The ruling permanently barred Marcos, who is now a member of parliament, from holding public office.

"Mayroong 7 Swiss foundations that were created by the Marcoses", Assistant Special Prosecutor Ryan Rey Quilala told reporters.

Marcos, who is now a member of the House of Representatives, is running for a governor post in next year's general election.

Mrs. Marcos served as the Minister of Human Settlements and was a member of the Interim Batasan Pambansa during her husband's presidency and dictatorship from 1965 to 1986.

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"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 Marcos family is a known supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Marcos was not present at the court but a warrant has now been issued for her arrest.

The Sandiganbayan said the former first lady can have provisional liberty if she posts a cash bond while appealing the conviction. 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. However, he believes Marcos should not be put to jail considering her old age.

She added, "It may have taken two decades and that is a bit too long".

Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao hopes the Sandiganbayan's ruling would "become a precedent in running after the Marcoses with regards to their other graft cases, involving not only Imelda Marcos, but also the other Marcos siblings". "But still, they did not give up and that is what counts". "Conviction is enough humiliation", he said.

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