Imelda Marcos cancels HK trip in wake of tragedy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 February, 2006, 12:00am

Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos has cancelled a medical trip to Hong Kong so she can visit her tragedy-stricken home province of Leyte.

Marcos, 76, claimed yesterday she had been raising money for a court bond to allow her trip to the city this week to see Chinese medicine practitioners for a cough and weak knees when the tragedy struck.

'I am going to Leyte because people are dying there and I have to rush there tomorrow,' said Marcos from her Manila home.

Marcos was born in Tacloban, the capital of Leyte. She was elected congresswoman to represent part of the province in 1995-98.

The widow of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos faces civil and criminal charges over billions of dollars of unexplained wealth amassed during her husband's 20-year rule. She is not in detention but must get court permission to leave the Philippines.

Marcos said yesterday she had wanted to consult a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner in Hong Kong and had also wanted to meet US-based orthopaedic surgeon Christopher Mow, who assisted in the knee replacement surgery on disgraced former Philippine president Joseph Estrada in late December 2004 at the private Adventist Hospital.

'And then this landslide in Leyte - I cannot afford to leave. I am rushing to raise some funds or things that they need and I hope to leave tomorrow.'

Marcos gained notoriety for owning more than 1,200 pairs of shoes and for her extravagant lifestyle.

Ferdinand Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in 1989.