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The former first lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, has been sentenced by a Manila court to decades in prison for corruption, 32 years after she and her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, were forced from power in a popular uprising.

Despite her absence, Marcos was sentenced to a minimum of up to 11 years for each count, according to CNN affiliate CNN Philippines.

An arrest warrant was ordered for Marcos because she failed to appear in court. Marcos, who is running for Ilocos Norte governor, is also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.

Marcos, who is serving her third straight term as a member of congress, has registered to contest an election to succeed her daughter, Imee Marcos, 62, as governor of Ilocos Norte, the stronghold of the still powerful Marcos family.

"She can elevate it to the Supreme Court if she sees grave abuse of discretion in the Sandiganbayan's decision".

Headway only began to be made in the case when the Swiss Federal Court ruled in 1997 "that the majority of the Marcos foundation assets were of criminal origin".

Quilala explained that the amounts involved with the foundations vary, and it is hard to give an exact number because they used different currencies, namely francs and dollars.

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Deputy Speaker and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro said that despite her conviction, Marcos will remain a member of the House of Representatives.

The court's decision came almost three decades after the case was filed.

In 2003, the Swiss court ordered the money to be returned to the Philippine government, after the Philippine Supreme Court rendered a decision that Ferdinand and Imelda's joint lawful income between 1965 to 1986 totalled just USD$304,000 and anything beyond that had been stolen.

The family's notoriety stems back to Ferdinand Marcos declaring martial law in 1972.

President Rodrigo Duterte, an ally of the Marcoses, said past year the Marcos family had indicated a willingness to return a still-unspecified amount of money and "a few gold bars" to help ease budget deficits. Imelda and her children have always denied any wrongdoing.

"The Executive Branch is not in the business of exerting undue interference or influence in the affairs of another separate and independent branch of the government", Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.