Graft-tainted ex-first lady pulls out of Philippines polls

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Manila, Nov 29 (IANS) Philippines congresswoman Imelda Marcos, the widow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, on Thursday withdrew her candidacy for the governorship of Ilocos Norte region after her conviction for graft made her ineligible to hold public office.

On November 9, the anti-corruption court found Imelda Marcos, 89, guilty of seven counts of corruption while she was the Governor of Manila (1975-86) and sentenced her to between six and 11 years in prison for each charge.

The former first lady still represents Ilocos Norte in the lower house of Parliament and was seeking to run for Governor during the May 2019 elections, according to Efe news.

Her grandson Matthew Marcos Manotoc, who served as her deputy, will replace her as a candidate for the Governor’s post, Manotoc said on his official Facebook page.

Currently, the Governor’s seat in Ilocos Norte is occupied by Imee Marcos, 60, daughter of Imelda and Manotoc’s mother, who seeks to enter national politics by running for senator.

The court had sentenced the former first lady for embezzlement of $200 million from public coffers into Swiss accounts. It had also issued an arrest warrant against Imelda Marcos, who obtained bail for 150,000 pesos ($2,850).

On Monday, she filed a motion before the anti-corruption court to transfer her case to the Supreme Court, where she seeks to appeal the sentence and which could delay the trial for years.

Imelda Marcos was the first lady of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, when the country was ruled by Ferdinand Marcos.

Nine of those years were under martial law (1972-81), during which at least 3,240 people were killed, 70,000 imprisoned and 34,000 tortured, according to Amnesty International.

A peaceful uprising brought down the government in 1986 and the Marcos family went in exile to Hawaii, where the former President died in 1989.

Imelda Marcos returned to the Philippines along with her children in 1992 to face more than 400 trials.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government had calculated that Marcos illegally accumulated between $5 billion and $10 billion, most of it stacked away in hidden offshore accounts.



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