Monday, February 28, 2011

25 Years Later, Some Justice for Marcos Victims

MANILA — Payments to 7,526 claimants, each amounting to 43,200 pesos, or about $1,000, grow out of a nearly $2 billion judgment in 1995 by a U.S. jury in Honolulu that found the Marcos estate liable for torture, summary executions and disappearances. The victims have not received payments until now because of disputes over the Marcos property.

Although the checks are small and although the restitution comes without apology or acknowledgment from the Marcos family, victims and legal experts said the restitution was significant because of the message it sent to the Philippines and to other nations in which abusive leaders have been forced from office.

The money comes principally from a $10 million settlement last summer with the family of a Marcos associate, said the lead lawyer, Robert A. Swift, who has pursued the case through legal hurdles for nearly 25 years. He said the remainder of the checks would be distributed over five weeks at 16 locations around the country.

In January, the court in Hawaii held Imelda Marcos — his widow — and the couple’s son, Ferdinand Jr., in contempt for refusing to furnish information and for continuing to use frozen assets of the estate and ordered them to pay a fine of $353.6 million for the benefit of the victims.

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