Ilocos Norte Rep. and former First Lady Imelda Marcos was found guilty of seven counts of graft by the Sandiganbayan which also ordered her arrest.
She was found guilty to have benefited from her public position in taking interests from several organizations in Switzerland.
Marcos, who was not present during the proceeding, was sentenced to jail for a minimum of six years and one month to 11 years for each count of graft and was perpetually barred from holding any public position.
Marcos was a former minister of Human Settlements, a Metro Manila governor and a member of the Interim Batasan Pambansa.
The charges accused Marcos of funneling roughly $200 million or P10 billion through Swiss foundations decad
The congresswoman can still post bail while appealing the decision as graft is a bailable offense.
The camp of Marcos said a motion for reconsideration is being considered.
“We have just received a copy of the decision of the Sandiganbayan’s 5th Division which was promulgated on 9 November 2018. Unfortunately, my attorney of record, Atty. Robert Sison, has been indisposed and is presently confined at the Asian Hospital,” Marcos said.
Former Court of Appeals Justice Manuel “Lolong” Lazaro, who has previously appeared as Marcos counsel, will represent Marcos in the interim.
“He is presently studying the decision and has advised us that he intends to file a Motion for Reconsideration,” she said.
Assistant Special Prosecutor Ryan Quilala said the former First Lady will not be automatically imprisoned as she can still file an appeal before the Supreme Court.
The promulgation of the sentence took so long because majority of the witnesses are already dead, Quilala added.
The Sandiganbayan 5th Division said Marcos is guilty beyond reasonable doubt in seven counts of violation of Republic Act 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Sandiganbayan added the prosecution has proven that she has “financial interest” in some private enterprises in violation of RA 3019.
In the case information filed in 1991, Marcos was charged with 10 counts of graft for her alleged interests and participation in the management of some private foundations in Switzerland from 1978 to 1984.
The questionable foundations were the Vibur Foundation, Maler Establishment, Trinidad Foundation, Rayby Foundation, Palmy Foundation, Aguamina Foundation and Avertina Foundation.
The Office of the Ombudsman also accused Marcos of depositing hidden wealth amounting to almost $30 million in a Banque Paribas bank.
Impartial justice system
The Palace said it recognizes the Sandiganbayan decision but noted that legal remedies are available to Marcos.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Executive branch “manifests our respect to the decision of the sandiganbayan.”
“While we note that there are still legal remedies available to Congresswoman Marcos, this latest development underscores that our country currently has a working and impartial justice system that favors no one,” he added.