Philippine court finds Imelda Marcos guilty of graft

Imelda Marcos is assisted to her car after visiting her husband's tomb

Imelda Marcos is assisted to her car after visiting her husband's tomb

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 anti-graft Sandiganbayan court on Friday sentenced the 89-year-old to six to 11 years jail for each of the seven counts for violating an anti-corruption law when she illegally funnelled about $US200 million ($A275 million) to Swiss foundations in the 1970s.

Neither Marcos nor her lawyers were present when the Sandiganbayan justices promulgated the decision to convict her for seven counts of graft. "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. She ran for congress and won while her appeal was underway.

The widow of the late dictator is facing dozens of protracted graft cases that have hounded her since her family was toppled in an army-backed popular uprising in 1986. Imelda Marcos in particular was known for her flaunting her opulent lifestyle while the country languished in poverty and civil unrest.

Marcos critics rejoiced at the news of the conviction, which came almost three decades after the case was filed in 1991.

But despite the guilty verdict, Sison is still pessimistic on the final outcome of the case once it reaches the Supreme Court (SC).

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The Marcos family has refused to admit guilt on human rights abuses and corruption - including an estimated $10 billion (roughly ₱500 billion) allegedly stolen from government coffers - during the late President's term.

Ferdinand Marcos had placed the Philippines under martial rule a year before his term was to expire.

Imee is running for the Philippine senate in 2019.

President Rodrigo Duterte, an ally of the Marcoses, said past year the Marcos family had indicated a willingness to return a still-unspecified amount of money and "a few gold bars" to help ease budget deficits.

Duterte allowed Marcos' embalmed body to be buried at a special heroes' cemetery in 2016, and the president is often accompanied at official events by Imee Marcos.

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