Imelda Marcos given lengthy prison term in graft case

Imelda Marcos given lengthy prison term in graft case

Imelda Marcos on Friday said her counsel intends to appeal the Sandiganbayan 5th Division's decision which found her guilty in 7 counts of graft for using her Cabinet position to maintain Swiss bank accounts during the Marcos regime.

The verdict from the anti-graft Sandiganbayan court orders her to serve a minimum of six years behind bars for each of the seven charges that the Marcoses funnelled roughly $200 million through Swiss foundations decades ago.

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

The court disqualified Marcos from holding public office but she can remain a member of the powerful House of Representatives while appealing the decision.

The family fled to Hawaii in 1986 when the army and the Philippine people turned against the president in a bloodless popular revolt. "The decision is a welcome relief and mitigates the pain of the past but only a full and voluntary acknowledgment by the Marcoses of their deeds can we say that closure is coming", he added.

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

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Imelda Marcos was acquitted on Friday in three other cases, which were filed in 1991 and took almost three decades of trial by several judges and prosecutors.

Under the rules of the Sandiganbayan, the former first lady has 15 days from promulgation of the ruling to file an appeal, and the anti-graft court has 30 days within which to decide on it. Marcos may also go straight to Supreme Court to seek relief.

Duterte has acknowledged that Imee Marcos, the couple's daughter and a provincial governor, backed his presidential candidacy, and she is running for senator under Duterte's political alliance.

Sison said Imelda should be immediately arrested and return all stolen money from the Filipino people.

The family's notoriety stems back to Ferdinand Marcos declaring martial law in 1972. Imelda's son Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr narrowly lost the vice-presidential election in 2016, a result he is now challenging, and many see him as the natural successor to President Duterte. He has also allowed the late dictator's body to be buried in the country's heroes' cemetery in 2016.

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