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It's all roses for Marcos at 80

IMELDA Marcos glided down a red carpet with a bouquet of roses, trailed by tuxedo-wearing violin and flute players. She blew out the candles on her 80th birthday cake amid glittering confetti and fireworks.

The former Philippine first lady, notorious for her shoe collection and unabashed opulence in her days in power, used the celebration on Thursday night to express confidence that she would defeat the last remaining corruption cases against her.

She and her late husband Ferdinand were accused of plundering the country's coffers during a two-decade rule that ended with their exile to Hawaii in 1986.

"I'm now into the last of 910 cases," Marcos told nearly 1,000 guests, mostly from wealthy families. "I can brag this to the whole world and say I have no mission that failed, I have no project that failed, I have no case that will lose," she said, to applause.

Newsweek magazine said she was one of the world's greediest people, but Marcos was not upset.

She said she pleads guilty for being the "greediest for the good, true and beautiful."

Her husband and his cronies allegedly amassed ill-gotten wealth estimated at up to US$10 billion when he was in power.

Of some 900 civil and criminal cases she has faced in Philippine courts since 1991, all but a handful of the cases were dismissed for lack of evidence.

A few convictions were overturned on appeal.

Marcos' party, which aides said was paid for by friends, was reminiscent of the extravagant gatherings she threw in her heyday. Opera singers and a pianist performed on a stage adorned with her portrait.

Asked if the lavish party was too much in financially difficult times, Marcos acknowledged: "It's a little too much. But there is no extravagance of beauty and love."


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