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Imelda Marcos 'returns to politics'
Former Philippines first lady sets out on bid to enter lower house of parliament.
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2010 10:02 GMT
Imelda Marcos said she is contesting to redeem her late husband's tarnished reputation [AFP]

Imelda Marcos, the widow of former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos, has launched her political campaign for a seat in the national parliament.

Marcos, dressed in a tangerine blouse, kicked off her political comeback on Friday, kissing a glass casket containing her husband's embalmed body and delivering a powerful message of family defiance.

"He was our best ever president," she said. "During his time we had territorial integrity, freedom, justice and human rights."

The 80-year-old surprised all observers in the Philippines when she registered at the last-minute to run for her late husband's old seat in national elections that will be held on May 10.

Marcos will replace her son, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, in the lower house of parliament, while he seeks a senate seat.

Her eldest daughter, Imee, will be contesting the governorship of Ilocos Norte, the family's political stronghold.

It will be the first political outing for the former first lady since losing a presidential bid in 1992.

Campaign trail

Marcos has said she hoped to achieve redemption for her husband, who is accused of stealing billions of dollars from state coffers during his 20-year rule, which ended with a "people power" revolution in 1986.

Famous for her flamboyant ways and a huge collection of shoes, Marcos returned to the Philippines from exile in 1983 and has emerged unscathed from corruption and human rights cases and enjoys a luxurious lifestyle in Manila.

Marcos received enthusiastic backing from Imee, who said her mother's experience and political savvy were the province's best bet.

"We need a real champion for the province because we are living in difficult times," she said.

"We must choose as our representative somebody who is intelligent, famous and influential."

Among other celebrities seeking election is Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino boxing star, who is seeking a congressional seat.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the president, who has been threatened with criminal charges when her term ends in June, is also a candidate for the lower chamber.

Source:
Agencies
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