Imelda Marcos seeks court permission to go abroad

MANILA Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:17am EDT

Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos listens to a speaker during the inauguration of the Ferdinand Marcos Library in Manila July 7, 2007. Marcos has asked an anti-graft court to allow her to go to Hong Kong and China for medical treatment and to attend a trade show, her lawyer said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo

Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos listens to a speaker during the inauguration of the Ferdinand Marcos Library in Manila July 7, 2007. Marcos has asked an anti-graft court to allow her to go to Hong Kong and China for medical treatment and to attend a trade show, her lawyer said on Wednesday.

Credit: Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo

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MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines' former first lady Imelda Marcos has asked an anti-graft court to allow her to go to Hong Kong and China for medical treatment and to attend a trade show, her lawyer said on Wednesday.

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

Imelda's lawyer, Robert Sison, said he asked the court on Tuesday to allow the former first lady to leave on August 31 for Hong Kong and China.

He promised the anti-corruption court that Imelda would be back on September 14.

The 78 year-old Imelda, famous for owning 1,200 pairs of shoes and a vast collection of jewellery that the cash-strapped government was trying to auction last year, wanted to see an expert in Chinese traditional medicine.

She has been complaining of pain in her knees, Sison said on Wednesday, adding she would also seek treatment for a strained eye.

Imelda has not left the Philippines since 2003, when she went to Europe and the United States.

The court gave Imelda permission to travel to Hong Kong in February 2006 for medical reasons but she postponed the trip saying she preferred instead to stay at home and donate a 630,000 peso ($13,490) travel bond to victims of a landslide.

She asked the court a permission to travel to Hong Kong again in September 2006, but the court denied her request due to a legal technicality.

The court was due to hear Imelda's travel request on Friday.

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