Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 November 2019

Imelda Marcos birthday party chaos as hundreds of guests fall sick

Former first lady was celebrating her 90th birthday in Manila

Over 200 people fell ill with suspected food poisoning Wednesday after a meal at a birthday party for 90-year-old Imelda Marcos - the notorious former first lady of the Philippines.

Ambulances rushed vomiting guests from a sports stadium in Manila where around 2,500 people gathered to honour the widow of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Although the Marcos's was chased from power by a 1986 peaceful uprising, the family is still revered by many in the Philippines and has made a political comeback in recent years.

"Our ambulances took people to hospital after they complained of dizziness and vomiting. They apparently suffered from food poisoning," Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon told AFP.

Health secretary Francisco Duque said the number of ill was 260.

One of them, a woman who only gave her first name, Leonora, said she believed it was caused by the party food.

"I wasn't that hungry so I only ate the egg and a little steamed rice. I vomited and an ambulance took me to the Rizal Medical Centre where I was given an IV drip," the guest said.

"I blame the cook. Everyone knows Madam [Imelda] is blameless since she was not the one who cooked it."

The party featured singing and speeches, as well as water bottles adorned with Imelda's name and meals in plastic boxes.

There were no immediate reports that the guest of honour was taken ill.

The family later issued an apology while pledging to help those who were sick and cooperate with an official investigation.

"I offer my apologies ask for your understanding. Rest assured that we will continue to help until everyone is fully healed," her son Ferdinand Junior said in a statement.

Updated: July 4, 2019 02:38 AM

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