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Imelda Marcos will seek presidency `to share wealth'

Imelda Marcos said Saturday she will run for president in May elections, saying she wanted to share her husband's wealth with the Filipino people.

The widow of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos announced her candidacy a week after the Supreme Court upheld her 1993 corruption conviction and 12-year prison sentence.She can appeal the ruling one more time and is free on bond in the meantime.

Imelda Marcos, a member of Congress since 1995, said she wants to be president "to ensure that the Marcos wealth through the Marcos Foundation will go directly to the Filipino people, and to bring back dignity, decency and leadership to the position."

She did not say why she couldn't use the money - estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars - if she is not elected, or say how she would share it if she does win.

"I am attracted to the presidency because if one has genuine feelings for the poor, no problems will be unsolvable," she told about 400 cheering supporters at a rally in Manila's Plaza Miranda.

"This is my legacy and responsibility: to ensure that the wealth of Marcos will not be taken away, that it must go straight to the people."

She refused to answer questions after the rally.

Imelda Marcos contested the presidency once before, in May 1992. She lost in a seven-way race narrowly won by Fidel Ramos.

Ferdinand Marcos was accused of embezzling billions of dollars during his 20-year administration, and he was ousted in a popular revolt in 1986 and driven into exile in Hawaii, where he died three years later. The Marcoses denied wrongdoing.

The Philippines government has recovered about $941 million of his money and is claiming another $500 million in Marcos' Swiss bank deposits.