Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos has been found guilty of seven counts of graft by local anti-corruption court Sandiganbayan in a court proceeding that lasted 27 years.
Sandiganbayan Court Fifth Division, which presides over cases involving graft and corruption, filed an arrest warrant against the 89-year-old widow of former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos on Friday.
LOOK: Sandiganbayan 5th Division’s dispositive part of its decision finding Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos guilty on seven counts of graft. She is sentenced to imprisonment for six to 11 years for each case | @anjocalimario
— CNN Philippines (@cnnphilippines) November 9, 2018
Based on the special court’s findings, she illegally funneled about $200 million to Swiss foundations in the 1970s during her term as a Metropolitan Manila governor, CNN reports.
Marcos was not present in court when she was sentenced to serve 6-11 years in prison for each of the seven counts of violating an anti-corruption law. She was reportedly acquitted on three other counts of graft.
University of the Philippines Professors from the History department, Students & youth groups set a bonfire ablaze at the UP Sunken garden to celebrate the guilty verdict meted on Imelda Marcos, the widow of the late Former President & dictator Ferdinand. @gmanews pic.twitter.com/7dcWVhKzXY
— JP Soriano (@jpsoriano) November 9, 2018
Famous for her lavish spending during her husband’s presidential term beginning in 1965, Marcos amassed a “huge collection of shoes, jewelry, and artwork” during her 21 years as First Lady of the Philippines.
When her husband was ousted from office via the “People Power Revolution” in 1986, she left over 1,000 pairs of shoes and more than 800 purses behind as the family fled to Hawaii.
— ABS-CBN News (@ABSCBNNews) November 9, 2018
She also left behind bank documents that were later used to build the case against her since 1991.
Based on the documents, the Marcos couple created fake charitable foundations in Liechtenstein and elsewhere, which were eventually used to open secret bank accounts in Switzerland.
In 1997, the Swiss Federal Court ruled “that the majority of the Marcos foundation assets were of criminal origin.”
Based on the Philippine Supreme Court decision, the joint lawful income of the Marcos couple between 1965 to 1986 should just amount to $304,000 and anything in excess had been stolen.
The Swiss court then ordered the money to be returned to the Philippine government in 2003.
At that time, the couple’s Swiss accounts had $683 million which increased from the initial $356 million.
While in power, the pair reportedly stashed at least $10 billion overseas overall, according to the Presidential Commission on Good Government, the agency set up to recover the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth.
I welcome the Sandiganbayan’s decision convicting Imelda Marcos of graft.
Though much delayed, this is still a victory for the nation especially for the victims of the reign of plunder and terror by the Marcoses.
— Neri Colmenares (@ColmenaresPH) November 9, 2018
Marcos, who is currently serving a term as a member of the Philippines House of Representatives, has 30 days to explain her absence during the last trial.
Despite the controversies surrounding the Marcos family’s ill-gotten wealth, the “Iron Butterfly” has been elected four times to the House of Representatives. Currently running for the governorship of Ilocos Norte, Marcos has been disqualified by the court from holding public office.
Marcos has since released a statement saying that one of her lawyers is currently studying the decision. Her arresst warrant has yet to be served as of this writing, Reuters reports.
— Laban UP! (@LabanYupi) November 9, 2018
Detain her in that film center she had built with money meant for expanding the Philippine General Hospital. You know, the film center haunted by construction workers who died in her mad rush to complete it.
— Jonathan E. Sy (@easy_jonathan) November 9, 2018
You commit a crime in the 60s to 80s. Charges will be filed against you in the 90s. And the courts sentence you almost 30 years later! That Sandiganbayan conviction was really a welcome but do we really have to wait that long to get justice? 😭🙄 #ImeldaMarcos
— CJ Sarmiento (@cjmsarmiento) November 9, 2018
#ImeldaMarcos should be jailed for life!
— Santamaldita (@AnnieCalma) November 9, 2018