The return of First Lady Imelda Marcos in 1991 and the tax fraud charges against her

Wednesday January 18, 2017 ()

Imelda Marcos returns
(First Lady Imelda Marcos as she arrive in Manila in 1991)

On Monday, November 4, 1991, Imelda Marcos set foot on Philippine soil again after 5 years of exile in Hawaii. She has left behind the still-unburied body of her husband, President Ferdinand Marcos, who died in Hawaii in September 1989. She was greeted with tight security as she arrived. Manila residents welcomed her as she drove to a church to pray. People in the crowd held signs that read, "Imelda, We Love You!" and "The Hidden Wealth of Marcos is Found Only in the Heart of His People."

Then president Cory Aquino lifted the ban on Mrs. Marcos's return on July 31, 1991, saying her presence no longer threatened national security, but added that she could bring her husband's body only if she took it directly to his home province of Ilocos Norte, far from Manila. The following day, August 1, 1991, the former First Lady was charged with tax fraud.

The return of First Lady Imelda Marcos in 1991 and the tax fraud charges against her

The cases include Marcos' alleged failure to file a tax return and to pay 33,734 pesos in taxes on her income in 1985 as an officer of two government agencies; her alleged failure to pay 5.7 billion pesos estate taxes in 1989, to file a tax return for estate worth 9.5 billion pesos, and for her alleged failure to notify the tax bureau of her husband's death in 1989.

On June 13, 2007, a court ruled that former first lady Imelda Marcos was innocent in the cases of tax evasion. Marcos shed tears as Judge Rosa Samson Tatad announced the verdict in the Quezon City regional trial court:

"Thank God, at last, after 21 years, justice for the Marcoses has prevailed. I am very happy because this is not just for the Marcoses but it will ultimately be justice for the Filipino people."

Tatad said government prosecutors had failed to present enough evidence to pin down Marcos for alleged failure to pay income and estate taxes in 1985 and 1989.

Tatad said:

"The prosecution's scanty evidence failed to establish the element of criminal intent on the part of Mrs. Marcos in all the criminal complaints filed against her."


  1. Widow of Philippine dictator acquitted of tax evasion by AP, Pravda Report (, June 13, 2007
  2. Tax fraud charges lodged against Imelda by Martin Abbugao, United Press International (, August 1, 1991
  3. Imelda Marcos Returns to Philippines by Seth Mydans, The New York Times (, November 4, 1991


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