Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Imelda Romualdez spent her early life as a beauty queen, and in 1950 was voted "Miss Manila." Her beauty caught the eye of politician Ferdinand Marcos, and the two married in 1954 after a well-publicized 11-day romance.
In 1965, Ferdinand was elected President of the Philippines, and Imelda began to take an active role in politics. She became the president's closest advisor and started implementing her own policies — even though she had no constitutional authority to do so. It was often said that Imelda wanted to be a queen, not simply a presidential spouse.
She advocated the construction of hospitals, schools and museums. She also instituted many social welfare programs throughout the nation as well as cultural programs, as well as the "Green Revolution" — a successful nationwide beautification campaign. New homes for wayward children and the aged were built as well as housing for the poor. During natural disasters such as fires, typhoons, floods, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, people turned to Mrs. Marcos for relief and assistance. This was not only because they believed she had a compassionate heart but also because they were confident she would take action immediately. These actions earned her the title "mother of the nation."
When the Marcos regime became increasingly unpopular, Imelda's glamourous excesses were a frequent target of criticism. While much of the Philippines remained mired in poverty due to the sinking economy, Imelda was said to possess over 500 pairs of shoes in an enormous walk-in closet and hordes of jewels. 
In 1986, the Marcos regime was toppled and the couple sought exile in Hawaii. Ferdinand died in 1989 and, three years later, Imelda returned to the Philippines and ran for president. She was badly defeated, but in 1995 she was able to win a seat in the Philippine House of Representatives.
In 1998, she made another bid for the presidency but was trounced. Imelda Marcos finished 9th among 11 candidates vying for the Philippine government's top post.
In 2001, after her term had ended, Imelda was arrested on charges of corruption and extortion committed during her husband's presidency. She had previously been found guilty of similar charges in 1995, but was acquitted.
The controversy centers around approximately $684 million that mysteriously "disappeared" from the Filipino treasury during the Marcos presidency. Most believe the wealth was stolen by the Marcos family and stashed in their Swiss bank account. In 2003, the money was awarded to the Philippine Government.
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