Imelda Marcos and her family have long played a prominent role in Philippine public life. (AP: Bullit Marquez)
The Philippines’ anti-corruption court has ordered the arrest of former first lady Imelda Marcos after finding her guilty on seven counts of corruption during the two-decade rule of her husband and former dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.
- The ruling comes nearly 30 years after the case was first filed
- 89-year-old Imelda Marcos faces a sentence of up to 77 years
- But a series of likely appeals could keep her out of jail
But Ms Marcos, 89, who is famous for amassing an extravagant collection of shoes, jewellery and artwork, can avoid arrest and remain free if she appeals the decision — and if denied, she can challenge it at the Supreme Court.
Ms Marcos said in a statement her lawyer was “studying the decision and he has advised us that he intends to file a motion for reconsideration”.
The widow of the late dictator is facing dozens of protracted political corruption cases that have hounded her since her family was toppled in an army-backed popular uprising in 1986.
The court ordered Ms Marcos, a congresswoman, to serve six to 11 years in jail for each of the seven counts of corruption.
She was charged for making seven bank transfers totalling $US200 million to Swiss foundations during her term as Manila governor.
The anti-corruption court’s decision came nearly three decades after the case was filed.
The former first lady has 15 days from promulgation of the ruling to file an appeal, and the court has 30 days within which to decide on it.
Ms Marcos’s shoe collection is so extensive there is a museum dedicated to it. (Supplied: Shirley Escalante)
Ms Marcos, a sitting three-term congresswoman, has registered as a candidate next May to succeed her daughter, Imee Marcos, 62, as governor of Ilocos Norte, the stronghold of their still-powerful family.
Imee Marcos is running for the Philippine Senate in 2019.
“I hope this ruling would serve as a crucial electoral guide to our voters this coming election,” opposition senator Risa Hontiveros said in a statement.
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.
He was accused of amassing more than $US10 billion while in office and died in exile in 1989.
President Rodrigo Duterte enjoys good ties with the Marcos family and has often praised the late strongman.
Mr Duterte allowed Mr Marcos’s embalmed body to be buried at a special heroes’ cemetery in 2016, and the President is often accompanied at official events by Imee Marcos.
Mr Duterte’s spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said in a statement the ruling against Imelda Marcos was proof that the executive “is not in the business of exerting undue interference or influence” on courts, and therefore “respects the decision”.