Philippines' Imelda declares net worth at $22 mln

Imelda Marcos has declared her net worth at $22 million, parliament records show, as she continues to fight the government over her assets more than two decades after the end of her dictator husband's reign.

The widow of deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared her wealth at 932.8 million pesos in 2011, records released late Thursday showed, which would make her the second richest Philippine politician behind boxing hero and congressman Manny Pacquiao.

The amount declared by Marcos was almost 50 percent higher than in 2010, with the 82-year-old including new assets which were surrendered to the government by the dictator's cronies.

A popular revolt toppled the dictator from power in 1986, sending the family fleeing overseas. Manila has since been trying to recover the wealth Marcos and his allies allegedly accumulated through graft during his 20 years in office.

The deposed president died in exile in 1989 and his family was allowed to return home, with his widow elected in 2010 to a congressional seat representing the family stronghold.

Before she was elected Marcos had complained of being nearly penniless, despite living in a luxury condominium unit and frequently appearing in public, bedecked with jewellery.

Her lawyer Robert Sison said his client, known for her jet-set lifestyle and love of shoes, could not touch much of her declared wealth as it had been seized or sequestered by the government.

"The ownership of these properties is being contested and the government is not off the hook," he told AFP.

Sison said her declared worth rose in 2011 because she added assets that had been surrendered to the government by Marcos cronies, wealth that was previously "overlooked". The lawyer said his client was the true owner of the assets and would seek to recover them.

Elected officials are required to declare their wealth each year. Pacquiao, rated by many as the best pound for pound boxer in the world, was elected to parliament in 2010 and declared assets worth 1.3 billion pesos.

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