Asia

Imelda Marcos party guests struck by 'food poisoning'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionGuests were vomiting and dizzy after eating food at the massive party

Hundreds of people are believed to have suffered food poisoning at a 90th birthday celebration for former Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos.

About 2,500 party-goers attended the event in Manila on Tuesday, where they were served chicken and rice lunches.

Guests were then rushed to hospital in ambulances after experiencing "vomiting and dizziness", one witness said.

Health officials said 261 people had been affected. Ms Marcos was not among them, according to reports.

The 90-year-old politician is the widower of former dictator president Ferdinand Marco. She is famous for her love of luxury and her collection of over 1,000 pairs of shoes.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The former first lady staged big celebrations for her birthday in Manila

Despite controversy over her family's tarnished political history, she remains a popular figure in Philippines where she staged a number of birthday events this week.

Supporters attended one such party in a sports stadium on Tuesday, where they were fed rice, boiled eggs and chicken adobo - a traditional savoury dish marinated in vinegar and soy sauce.

Richard Gordon, the chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross which assisted in the medical transfers, posted pictures of staff treating patients in ambulances.

The Marcos family has apologised for the incident, with son Bongbong saying in a statement: "We are coordinating with and helping the affected people. I apologise and ask for understanding."

Daughter Imee Marcos was also reported to have told the remaining guests at the party: "The food may have been spoiled, but we remain solid.

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

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Thousands celebrated the former first lady's birthday in public events this week

Last year Imelda Marcos was sentenced to 11 years in jail on seven corruption charges. However, she was not incarcerated and is on bail pending an appeal.

The Marcos family is estimated to have amassed more than $10bn (£6.1bn) in property, jewellery, cash and other assets during Ferdinand's time in power.

He was overthrown in 1986 in a "People Power" uprising, after which the government seized luxury assets alleged to have been bought with state funds.

Related Topics

More on this story