By: Nicholas Sakelaris
Imelda Marcos was convicted on seven charges of graft dating back to time as first lady of the Philippines. Photo by Francis R. Malasig/EPA/EFE
Nov. 9 (UPI) — Former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos was convicted on seven charges of graft related to the theft of up to $200 million from her nearly two decades in office.
Marcos, 89, currently has a seat in Congress and was not present for the sentencing. She faces between 6 to 11 years in prison for each of the seven charges. She used banks in Switzerland to transfer the money.
In a statement, Marcos said her attorney is studying the verdict and she intends to file a motion asking the court to reconsider. She could also appeal the decision, which could drag on for several more years.
An arrest warrant was ordered for Marcos because she failed to appear in court.
The corruption charges make up a fraction of the billions of dollars Marcos, a former beauty queen, and her husband, President Ferdinand Marcos, are believed to have acquired through illegal means. Ferdinand Marcos ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, a violent period of martial law in the Pacific nation. The government was overthrown in 1986, forcing the ruling family to flee to the United States where Ferdinand Marcos died in 1989. Imelda Marcos later returned to the country where the family has made a comeback.
Still, the charges have hung over the politically powerful Marcos family since 1991 and the timing could jeopardize the next generation. The family is an important ally of populist President Rodrigo Duterte. A government spokesman said the government respects the ruling.