The Philippine anti-graft court, the Sandiganbayan [official website], said Monday that it ordered Imelda Marcos, wife of deceased Philippine ex-dictator Ferdinand Marcos [JURIST news archive], to return USD $280,000 in state funds stolen by her husband. The money was stolen from the National Food Authority, a government agency responsible for importing rice, and transferred to a private bank in 1983 [AFP report]. Jesus Tanchanco, former head of the National Food Authority, testified against the ex-dictator in exchange for immunity from prosecution. The initial ruling against Marcos came in September. Marcos dropped her appeal, and the ruling went into effect on April 5. Marcos has until May 5 to return the money.
Ferdinand Marcos ruled the Philippines for 20 years. It is estimated that he and his family stole approximately $10 million of government funds. Recouping the stolen money has been a challenge since much of it is believed to be secured in offshore bank accounts. Imelda Marcos and her family were allowed to return to the Philippines after Ferdinand Marco's death in exile. Imelda Marcos was recently elected to Congress [UPI report] to represent Ilocos Norte, the birthplace of her husband.