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The Philippines' anti-corruption court ordered the arrest of former first lady Imelda Marcos on Friday after finding her guilty of seven counts of graft during the two-decade rule of her husband and late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.

The incumbent lawmaker - known for her collection of more than 1,000 pairs of shoes - was found guilty of seven counts of graft for allegedly maintaining Swiss accounts as a cabinet member during her husband's rule, the country's anti-corruption court decided on Friday.

Marcos was not present at the court but a warrant has now been issued for her arrest.

An anti-graft court has ordered Imelda Marcos to serve a minimum of six years behind bars over US$200 million funnelled through Swiss foundations decades ago.

The court barred Marcos from holding public office as part of the sentence. "The president chose William Saunders and Imelda Marcos used Jane Ryan", special prosecutor Ryan Quilala told reporters.

Imelda's son, also named Ferdinand, nearly won the separate election for vice president that year.

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He was accused of amassing more than US$10 billion while in office and died in exile in 1989. Duterte said through a spokesman that his administration "is not in the business of exerting undue interference or influence on courts, and therefore respects the decision".

She is now a member of the House of Representatives for Ilocos Norte.

Rosales said the decision was a huge setback to efforts by the Marcos family to revise history by denying numerous atrocities under the dictatorship, and urged Filipinos to fight all threats against democracy and civil liberties.

Imelda is running for governor in Ilocos Norte, a province in the northern tip of the Philippines' main Luzon Island, in the 2019 midterm elections.

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

President Duterte enjoys close ties with the Marcos family and has called the late strongman his role model. The former commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government said the verdict could be reversed by a Supreme Court that is mostly composed of judges appointed by the Philippines' "Marcos-idolising" President Rodrigo Duterte.