investigation Imelda Marcos asks Filipino court's permission to visit China
Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos has asked an anti-graft court
to allow her to travel for two weeks in China and Hong Kong, where she will
seek eye treatment and be a guest at a trade exhibition, her lawyer said
The 78-year-old widow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos is not detained, but
faces a string of criminal and civil cases related to billions of dollars in
alleged ill-gotten wealth amassed by her family during her husband's 20-year
Lawyer Robert Sison said Marcos has been invited to be a guest of honor
at a trade exhibition in the northeastern Chinese province of Jilin and
wants to visit Hong Kong to consult an eye doctor for her glaucoma. She may
also seek treatment from a Chinese traditional doctor for pain in her knee,
Sison said he filed a request with the anti-graft court to allow Marcos
to travel Sept. 1-14, after which she promises to return home. The former
beauty queen, known for her extensive shoe and jewelry collection, has
previously been allowed by the court to travel overseas.
In 2003, she left for the United States for medical treatment and to
France, Portugal and Italy for a religious pilgrimage.
She was given permission to leave the Philippines for Hong Kong last year
for medical treatment, but canceled her trip because of a massive landslide
near her hometown.
A "people power" revolt ousted Ferdinand Marcos in February
1986, forcing him and his family to flee to Hawaii, where he died in exile
The government said it has recovered at least $1.7 billion in cash and
assets from the Marcos family and their associates over two decades,
including Swiss bank deposits holding at least $680 million.
- AP 2007 August 29
Marcos family returning to the limelight in the
When Imelda Marcos, the flamboyant widow of Ferdinand Marcos, the former
Philippine dictator, celebrated her birthday last week, the festivities took
place at a mansion that used to be one of her husband's guest houses, a
building that has since been confiscated by the government.
She and her children had "beautiful memories" of the mansion,
Marcos told reporters during the party, at which she distributed fake
jewelry made of cheap plastic because, as she put it, "I see beauty in
everything, even garbage."
The government said last week it was still investigating why Marcos was
allowed to hold a party at the mansion, which symbolizes to many the
excesses of her husband's regime.
Still, it was just the latest indication that the Marcoses, who ruled the
country for more than two decades and whose name has been synonymous with
corruption, extravagance and brutality, are enjoying a popular revival.
The Marcoses' return to the limelight, other analysts say, is due in part
to the government's failure to prosecute them successfully for corruption,
despite what investigators call a vast amount of evidence, spanning the two
decades from 1965 through their fall from power in 1986, linking various
family members to massive theft of government resources.
After two decades of building legal cases against the Marcos in the
Philippines and abroad, in hopes of reclaiming an estimated $10 billion it
says the Marcoses stole during their two-decade hold on power, the
Philippine government has suffered a series of stinging courtroom defeats in
The victories have emboldened the family, led by Imelda, to wage a
renewed struggle to regain control not just of their assets, many still
frozen by the government, but also their place in the country's history.
Also facilitating the Marcoses's revival, according to the sociologist
Michael Tan, is that Filipino culture is, by nature, a forgiving one. The
Marcos family, once widely despised, has had little difficulty finding a
nostalgic soft-spot in the popular consciousness.
"A new generation has matured knowing the Marcoses as
celebrities," said Manuel Quezon, a presidential historian. "The
old anti-Marcos alliance has been decimated by age, migration, political
disunity and legal bungling."
Despite the family's ignominious ouster during the People Power uprising
of 1986, the Marcos mystique, reminders of which dot the landscape in the
form of thousands of edifices and civic projects Imelda and her husband
built during their years in power, had never entirely disappeared.
"Marcos may have been corrupt, yes, but which administration
wasn't?" mused Dennis Caraos, a security guard at a residential
subdivision in Manila. "He may have been brutal, but how about now? At
least Marcos did many good things."
Marcos allies have remained in power throughout the period following
Ferdinand's ouster, retaining a variety of potent military, commercial and
administrative roles in succeeding administrations.
Ferdinand died in exile in Hawaii in 1989. Imelda and the Marcos clan
moved back to the Philippines in 1991 and immediately set about rebuilding
their political fortunes.
Ferdinand Jr., the former leader's son, served as congressman and is now
governor of Ilocos Norte Province, the traditional power base of the Marcos
family (and where the dictator's preserved remains are on public display at
a family mausoleum).
Imee, Ferdinand's daughter, also served in Congress representing Ilocos
Norte, a position she yielded to a cousin in the elections of May.
Imee's son, Borgy, is one of the country's most popular models. Imelda's
brothers and other relatives continue to dominate politics in Leyte Province
in the central Philippines, where her family has strong roots.
Over the past year, the Marcoses, Imelda, and Imee in particular, have
embarked upon an unprecedented campaign to rehabilitate the father's legacy.
Most recently, the pair issued seven books on the Marcos presidency,
purveying what many would consider a revisionist view of the regime. Because
Ferdinand's favorite number was seven, the books were released July 7.
"It is time that we respect what was past and what was part of our
story, and it is time indeed that all these stories be told," Imee said
at the book launch.
"This is really bringing out the truth about the Marcoses, who I
think played a very major role for 20 years in this country's history,"
Imelda, at the same function, said in a speech at the book launch.
The Marcos years, she added, "really set the foundation of our
Last week, Sandiganbayan, the anti-graft court where many of the cases
against the Marcoses were filed, dismissed the government's case to recover
$4.7 million in deposits allegedly owned by the Marcoses at Security Bank
The court said the Presidential Commission on Good Government, created in
1986 to recover Marcos assets stashed in the Philippines and overseas, had
failed to offer testimony to prove that the money was obtained unlawfully.
Last month, a separate court acquitted Imelda of tax evasion charges, and
the Swiss Federal Supreme Court ordered the unfreezing of $4 million in bank
accounts of Herminio Disini, a close Marcos confidant who had allegedly
amassed millions of dollars in preferential loans, given to cronies without
collateral, from government banks.
Also in June, Imelda's brother Alfredo was acquitted by a Philippine
court of charges that he used his influence to sell, in 1974, government
property to a company allegedly owned by Ferdinand. The court said the
commission based its case on documents that were unauthenticated
Last week, local media reports said the Marcoses were poised to take back
several other properties in the Philippines after the Presidential
Commission on Good Government lifted its sequestration orders on these
assets. The commission has not formally announced its decision.
In the late 1980s, the Marcoses faced nearly a thousand criminal and
civil cases related to corruption and human rights violations. But so far,
only $1.7 billion in assets have been recovered, and a good portion of those
may ultimately revert back into the family's control.
"The administrations after 1986 were never really serious about
prosecuting the Marcoses," said Earl Parreno, a political analyst who
wrote a book on Eduardo Cojuangco, the San Miguel chief and Marcos protegé
who fled the country with the dictator's family in 1986, but returned in
1989 to reclaim the chairmanship of Asia's largest brewery.
Only 60 cases against the family are still active, according to Robert
Sison, Imelda's lawyer.
The government has resorted in some cases to out-of-court settlements
with the Marcoses, but most have wound down with no settlement and no
As a result, the Presidential Commission on Good Government has been
excoriated by anti-Marcos politicians and human-rights groups. Senator
Aquilino Pimentel Jr., a veteran Marcos critic, wants to see the commission
admit failure and dissolve.
"Twenty-one years after its creation, the commission has not
produced any significant accomplishments that would justify its continued
existence," he said last week after introducing a bill that would
abolish the body. - by Carlos H. Conde INTERNATIONAL
HERALD TRIBUNE 2007 July 8
Marcos still haunts Phillipines in mansion Sale
MANILA A Spanish-style Manila mansion owned by
former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda failed to
sell Wednesday in a government auction, dashing hopes that asset sales might
help reduce the country's record budget deficits.
No bids were submitted for the mansion, a property on Manila Bay, and for a
beach house in Marcos's home province of Ilocos Norte, all seized 10 years
ago when the family failed to pay back taxes, said Licerio Evangelista,
deputy tax commissioner. It was the same story at the separate auction of a
prime government lot in Manila's business district. No buyers showed up for
the third time running.
"I don't know if they're serious about privatizing," said Luz
Lorenzo, economist of ATR-Kim Eng Capital Partners Inc. "They may not
be realistic about prices, and we're getting to the dregs."
About 200 billion pesos ($3.7 billion) of government assets were sold
between 1987 to 2001, including part of Manila's Fort Bonifacio army base,
the city's water franchises and stakes in Petron Corp. and Philippine
National Bank. Only about 1 billion pesos have been sold since, analysts
The government was asking 175 million pesos for properties that once
belonged to Marcos, including the mansion where, legend says, Marcos took
his bride Imelda after a two-week courtship in 1954. The house, filled with
paintings and pictures of the couple in favorite heroic poses, contains some
of Imelda's shoe collection, which came to exemplify the extravagance of the
Marcos fled the Philippines in 1986 after a popular uprising with his wife
leaving behind more than 3,000 pairs of designer shoes. Imelda returned to
the Philippines after her husband died in exile in Hawaii, and two of her
children were elected to public office.
The Marcoses, according to critics, stole 20 billion pesos from public
coffers. That's about a tenth of the budget deficit the administration of
President Gloria Arroyo is forecasting this year, after a record 211 billion
peso deficit in 2002.
The government has 40 billion pesos of assets still awaiting sale, the
finance undersecretary, Eric Recto said. The assets include the government's
10 percent stake in Manila Electric Co.
The 4.8-hectare (12-acre) lot in Manila's Makati district, which once housed
a school for children of wealthy Filipinos and expatriates, has been up for
sale for three years. The government cut the asking price to 1.9 billion
pesos from 2.9 billion pesos in 2000, Recto said.
Robinsons Land Corp., which was considering the site for mall, housing and
office space, did not bid.
"The minimum bid price was too high to make the project feasible,"
said the company's executive vice president, Frederick Go.
The government may be getting the message. Recto said the government may
negotiate a lower price.
As for those Marcos properties? The government said it will try to sell them
- back to the Marcos family. - by Jun Ebias
and Francisco Alcuaz Jr
Bloomberg News INTERNATIONAL
HERALD TRIBUNE 2003 June 11
Fake gems shine for Imelda
No wonder the Philippines' flamboyant former first
lady Imelda Marcos loves to shop in Hong Kong.
The former Miss Manila, who last week turned 78,
is known for her extensive shoe collection and eye-popping diamond jewelry.
But the wealthy socialite revealed during a media briefing she has resorted
to wearing plastic accessories she made herself because the government has
sequestered her expensive jewelry.
Pointing to a set of emerald-colored earrings and
brooch, she said: "This is made of resin - plastic that is worth 50
Holding up a bracelet that she said she bought for
80 pesos, she proudly said: "It glitters, but it is fake. I am proud.
It is beautiful. It does not have to be diamonds."
Last year Marcos launched "The Imelda
Collection" - a jewelry line she described as "both worthless and
priceless," made from glass beads, gold-plated chains and recycled
The widow of President Ferdinand Marcos at one
point faced more than 900 criminal and civil cases, mostly for violation of
graft and corruption laws during her husband's 20-year rule.
But many have been dismissed, with only 40
criminal cases and fewer than 20 civil suits remaining, said her lawyer
The Philippines government said it has recovered
at least US$1.7 billion (HK$13.26 billion) in cash and assets from the
Marcoses and their associates over two decades. That should still leave her
with plenty, though, for shopping sprees here in search of fake
gear. - THE
STANDARD 2007 July 9
Shoe maven Imelda Marcos has a new collection
Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos wears jewelry she made
herself in a photo shoot in Manila, Philippines
Former Philippine first lady Imelda
Marcos, notorious for an extensive shoe collection and eye-popping jewels
accrued under her husband's dictatorship, is launching a jewelry collection
she "recycled" using castoffs from her old wardrobe.
Marcos, known for her shopping trips to ritzy shops in New York while the
country wallowed in poverty, made the one-of-a-kind pieces from her old
accessories and clothes, mixed with newly bought stones and other materials.
Her daughter, Rep. Imee Marcos, said that unknown to many people, her
mother shops for trinkets and accessories at flea markets, and keeps
earrings with a missing pair or brooches that have some missing stones.
Using her own glue gun, scissors or pliers, Imelda "can combine them
with her vintage items in a way that comes out beautiful," Imee said
during a promotional photo shoot that journalists were invited to.
The 77-year-old grandmother and widow of Ferdinand Marcos took time out
Monday to talk to reporters in between hectic photo shoots for brochures
that will launch "The Imelda Collection" of fashion jewelry later
Lying on a divan in a Manila hotel's seaside garden, Imelda was clad in
gossamer top with a butterfly design and black pants for the photographs.
For the brochure, she modeled several chunky necklaces, rings and bracelet
sets, some made with fake tiger eye stones.
Pointing to a set of matching earrings and brooch made of blue imitation
tiger eye stone she was wearing, she told reporters, "This thing I wear
now is something I recycled."
Imelda said the jewelry collection was the idea of her grandson Martin
"Borgy" Manotoc, who was directing the photo shot.
Manotoc, Imelda said, told her, "You are creating beautiful things,
like jewels from practically garbage."
The collection will be officially launched November 18, most likely in
The first designs to be shown to the public are the accessories and the
jewelry and will "not yet" include shoes, her daughter said. But a
close aide of the Marcoses said there are plans to expand the collection to
include shoes, clothes, and maybe furniture.
Describing how the collection came to be, Imelda recalled, "One day
my grandson came to me and said, `Mama Meldy, I would like to use your
collection to tell the world the real Imelda and the spirit of my grandma.'
"What we are selling is not something valuable, but ... it is
something invaluable because it's only beauty that can feed the
spirit," she continued.
"Even Plato said God is made real in what is beautiful," she
said. - AP
Imelda starts bling business
Imelda Marcos, the Philippines' former first lady famed for her rapacious
extravagance, plans to launch a line of cheap accessories and sports shoes
aimed at the youth market this month.
The widow of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, renowned for amassing 1,500
pairs of shoes and a vast collection of jewels during her husband's 20-year
regime, said Monday that her trinkets and sneakers would be affordable to
"This is more than about money because money can only buy you food
and things like that, but only beauty can feed your soul and your
spirit," said Marcos, wearing a chunky blue brooch and matching
The Imelda Collection, a range of low-cost but glitzy jewelry, bags and
trainers, is aimed at a generation not yet born when the former beauty queen
swept through Manila in sequined stilettos and diamond tiaras.
"I think the younger generation are much more open to my mother
because the older generation has prejudged her," said Imee Marcos, a
congresswoman and the oldest Marcos child.
Reporters were not shown the accessories, which Imee said would include
pieces from her mother's own collection as well as designs created by Imee
and her son Fernando Manotoc.
The Marcos family has been accused of looting up to US$10 billion (HK$78
billion) in bank deposits, shares, jewelry, art and property before
Ferdinand Marcos was ousted by an army-backed popular revolt in 1986.
Decades before hip-hop artists came up with the term "bling bling"
to describe gaudy ostentation, Filipinos used the phrase "Imeldific"
to describe acts of excess.
Imelda returned to the Philippines in 1991 from exile in Hawaii, where
her husband had died in 1989. Once feared, she is now seen by many as an
eccentric figure of fun and has run for president and won a term in
A Manila court found her not guilty of one set of corruption charges last
month but she still faces 10 more graft cases and dozens of civil suits over
billions of dollars in unexplained wealth amassed during her husband's rule.
She also faces hundreds of cases accusing her of illegally transferring
millions of US dollars overseas. - by