More than 200 fall ill after eating at Imelda Marcos party

July 3, 2019
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Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III talks to patients who fell ill during the 90th birthday celebration of former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos, the flamboyant wife of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in Manila, Philippines. Officials say more than 240 people have been brought to hospitals due to suspected food poisoning in the event which was attended by more than a thousand "Marcos Loyalists." (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — More than 240 people were brought to hospitals in the Philippine capital Wednesday with suspected food poisoning in an event celebrating the 90th birthday of former first lady Imelda Marcos.

Bryant Wong, a disaster-response officer, said dozens of ambulances transported at least 244 people who either vomited or grew dizzy hours after eating a breakfast of chicken stew with egg and rice and drinking water in a sports center in suburban Pasig city.

Food and Drug Administration personnel took samples of the food to check if it caused the apparent poisoning.

The incident cut short what was supposed to be a daylong celebration by more than 2,000 Marcos followers, Wong said.

Imelda Marcos’s son, Bongbong, apologized and promised to help those who fell ill until they fully recover.

Imelda Marcos, who ended her term in May as a member of the House of Representatives, celebrated her birthday Tuesday. Her daughter, Imee, ran successfully for a Senate seat in the May 13 local and congressional elections.

Mrs. Marcos’s husband, dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was ousted by an army-backed “people power” revolt in 1986 amid accusations of massive corruption, which she steadfastly denies. He died in self-exile in Hawaii in 1989, while his widow and children made an impressive political comeback.

Mrs. Marcos drew international condemnation for her massive collection of shoes and expensive jewelry she left behind after the couple was overthrown.

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