Thursday 18 July 2019

260 in hospital after falling ill with food poisoning at Imelda Marcos' 90th birthday bash

Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III talks to patients who fell ill during the 90th birthday celebration of former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos. Picture: AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III talks to patients who fell ill during the 90th birthday celebration of former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos. Picture: AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos is seen during her 90th birthday party in Manila in this video grab obtained from social media. Picture: Facebook/Hamza Mamintal Guinal Alawi/via REUTERS
Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos poses for a photograph during her 90th birthday party in Manila in this video grab obtained from social media.Picture: Facebook/Hamza Mamintal Guinal Alawi/via REUTERS
Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III talks to patients who fell ill during the 90th birthday celebration of former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marco. Picture: AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
File picture of former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos. Picture: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

Karen Lema

Chaos erupted at a huge party to celebrate the 90th birthday of former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos on Wednesday, with 261 friends and supporters rushed to Manila hospitals with suspected food poisoning.

Emergency rooms in the city's Pasig area were inundated with patients vomiting and suffering from diarrhoea and dizziness, according to staff who spoke to Reuters.

The health ministry said 261 well-wishers had been rushed to nine hospitals by Wednesday afternoon after eating food that had been prepared for 2,500 people.

Marcos, the widow of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was not affected, radio station DWIZ quoted her chief of staff as saying. Video posted on Facebook showed people lining up at her table to greet her.

Marcos is famous for her massive collection of shoes, jewellery and artwork. Her family remains a powerful yet divisive force in politics and enjoys good ties with President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ MORE: Anger as Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos buried in heroes' cemetery

Guests were fed rice, boiled eggs and chicken Adobo, a traditional Filipino dish of meat stewed in vinegar and soy sauce.

"The food may have been spoiled, but we remain solid," her daughter and incoming Senator, Imee Marcos, told those left at the party in comments streamed live on Facebook.

"Let's just take care of those who are in the hospital and expect that we will visit each one of them," she said.

The incident adds to more misery for Imelda Marcos, who is the subject of dozens of graft cases that have hounded her since her family was toppled in a popular uprising in 1986.

READ MORE: Imelda Marcos' seized jewels to be sold at auction

She was sentenced to 11 years in prison on seven counts of corruption last year for making illegal bank transfers worth $200m to Swiss foundations while Manila governor in the 1970s.

Marcos denies the charges and is on bail pending her appeal.

Reuters

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