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MANILA - Former first lady Imelda Marcos, newly elected to the Philippine's congress, vowed yesterday never to compromise with the government in the battle for her family's alleged ill-gotten wealth.
The widow of deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos said she would be willing to discuss the wealth but would not bargain on dividing the assets.
"I don't want a compromise, a settlement or a plea bargain because it looks like there is a bit of guilt there and I am not guilty," the 80-year-old widow said as she showed journalists around a local hotel she helped develop.
"I can talk about it if it is anchored in truth, legality and what is right. I am ready to talk to everybody and show them the truth."
She was reacting to calls by a government wealth recovery agency for a settlement with the Marcos family over the assets and money they allegedly stole from the state during the 20 years Ferdinand Marcos was in power.
While no exact figure is known, the agency has previously said it could be as much as $3billion.
Imelda said her husband was not guilty of corruption and had earned his money honestly.
Ferdinand Marcos ruled as a dictator after imposing martial law in 1972, throwing opponents in jail and letting his family and allies enrich themselves through his control of the economy.
Anger at his corruption and abuse sparked a popular revolt that toppled Marcos in 1986 and installed democracy heroine Corazon Aquino in his place.
But in Monday's elections the Marcos family made a comeback, with Imelda elected to congress, her daughter Imee elected as provincial governor and her son, Ferdinand Jnr poised to join the senate.
Ricardo Abcede, commissioner of the agency tasked with recovering the loot, urged incoming president Benigno Aquino to agree to talks for a settlement with the Marcos family.
He said the impoverished country urgently needed the money, adding that waiting for a court decision would delay recovery for decades. - Sapa-AFP