Philippines convicts Imelda Marcos of graft

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The verdict from the anti-graft Sandiganbayan court orders her to serve a minimum of six years behind bars for each of the seven charges that the Marcoses funnelled roughly $200 million through Swiss foundations decades ago.

Marcos, a member of the Philippines House of Representatives, will be given 30 days to explain her absence, according to Lenina Alisuag, from office of the clerk of courts of the Sandiganbayan Court Fifth Division, which has jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases involving graft and corrupt practices.

The arrest warrant may not be executed immediately because Marcos can appeal the ruling by the Sandiganbayan court, a prosecutor said.

She is now a member of the House of Representatives for Ilocos Norte.

Marcos, who is now a member of the House of Representatives, is running for a governor post in next year's general election.

"I was jumping up and down in joy in disbelief", said former Commission on Human Rights chairwoman Loretta Ann Rosales, who was among many activists locked up after Imelda's husband, former President Ferdinand Marcos, declared martial law in the Philippines in 1972.

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Rosales said the decision was a huge setback to efforts by the Marcos family to revise history by denying numerous atrocities under the dictatorship, and urged Filipinos to fight all threats against democracy and civil liberties.

Marcos maintained accounts with the Swiss Bank Corporation for the said foundations "for the benefit of the accused and her late husband", according to the charge sheets. "We must not allow the Marcos family to influence and undermine our collective process to search for truth, justice and accountability", Senator Risa Hontiveros said.

Imelda Marcos was acquitted on Friday in three other cases, which were filed in 1991 and took almost three decades of trial by several judges and prosecutors.

The anti-graft court found Marcos guilty of 7 counts of graft related to private organizations created in Switzerland while she was a government official from 1968 to 1986.

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Three generations of the Marcos clan are once again running for office in Ilocos Norte, the family's stronghold, in the 2019 elections.

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