Sandigan finds Imelda Marcos guilty of 7 graft counts

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The former first lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, has been sentenced by a Manila court to decades in prison for corruption, 32 years after she and her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, were forced from power in a popular uprising.

She was sentenced to between six and 11 years in prison for each count.

Marcos faces arrest after the Sandiganbayan found her guilty of 7 counts of graft related to private organizations created in Switzerland while she was a government official from 1968 to 1986. Friday's decision bars the former first lady from any public office unless she pursues an appeal with the top court.

Imelda, 89, a sitting three-term congresswoman who is known for her huge collection of shoes, jewellery and artwork, once wielded vast power in the Southeast Asian nation before her family was toppled in an army-backed popular uprising in 1986. After an appeal the convictions were eventually quashed in the Supreme Court in 1998. She was charged for making seven bank transfers totalling US$200 million to Swiss foundations during her term as Manila governor.

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Headway only began to be made in the case when the Swiss Federal Court ruled in 1997 "that the majority of the Marcos foundation assets were of criminal origin".

Because of her position in the government, she was "prohibited by the Constitution from having any interest during her term of office" in these businesses.

Deputy Speaker and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro said that despite her conviction, Marcos will remain a member of the House of Representatives.

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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The court's decision came almost three decades after the case was filed.

Ferdinand Marcos ruled the Philippines for two decades, placing the country under martial law in 1972, during which time thousands of opponents were jailed, killed or disappeared. 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.

A spokesman for the Philippine president indicated on Friday that Duterte will not intervene with the court on Imelda Marcos' behalf.

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