The events that led to that fateful day in February 1986 where the President and his entire family were forced to leave Malacanang and brought to exile in Hawaii are best left for history to recount and for people to judge.
But even on dark days some shaft of light might peek to shed joy and cheer. From the sanctuary of their exile in Makiki, the Marcoses received daily an endless procession of visitors – both local and foreign –who had come to sympathize, empathize or commiserate with them.
When Marcos died in exile on September 28,1989, Imelda was left alone to face “the mightiest sword of justice from the most powerful country in the world’. In the now famous RICO case of Imelda Marcos filed before the Southern District of New York, the trial of the decade took all of four months to resolve, with three governments, 95 witnesses and 350,000 pages of documents arrayed against her.
It is noteworthy for history to record that Imelda had been offered a plea bargain by the U.S. Justice Department, twice. The first time was, when at the morgue, while kneeling beside the still warm body of her dead husband, she was asked to make a plea bargain. If she admitted to a lesser crime, she would be set free and her case archived forever. She replied “No. To say I stole one dollar instead of millions is not true. We did not steal even a single cent. Let us proceed with the trial. My honor is non-negotiable.” The second time was when she coughed blood and collapsed while the court was in session. She was offered a medical severance when she was hospitalized. Again, she replied: “No. Give me a few days rest. More than life, I value our vindication and sacred honor.”
On July 2, 1990, her birthday, Imelda was acquitted by a unanimous verdict of the jury on all counts. The 12 members of the American jury were chosen at random from the broad base of New York residents. When they were interviewed upon Imelda’s acquittal, they said that as early as the second week of the trial, they were already of the mind set that she was innocent. “
“I thank God and American justice. There is no bitterness in my heart, nor anger in my soul, because the system works,” were Imelda’s first words in celebration of her victory, then on her knees as she walked along the long stretch from the door to the altar of St. Patrick’s. – Imelda”