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Marcos victims may soon receive funds

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More than 9,000 Filipinos who successfully sued Ferdinand Marcos in an American court over human rights abuses in the Philippines could soon receive the first installment of their nearly $2 billion judgment against the former president.

Three corporations created by Marcos cronies agreed to a $10 million settlement over a claim by the plaintiffs that 4,500 acres in Texas and Colorado were paid for and owned by the Marcos estate, said Sherry Broder, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

"This is a major step — but only one step," she said.

The plaintiffs have collected some money from the sale of a Makiki Heights home where Marcos and his family stayed following their forced exile in 1986, a bulletproof Mercedes-Benz automobile owned by a Marcos associate and a Picasso painting. But the amounts were too small to distribute to the 9,539 people who were members of the class-action lawsuit, Broder said.

The class members are victims of torture, summary executions and disappearances, and their heirs. The U.S. District Court in Hawaii awarded them $1.96 billion in damages in 1995.

Broder said the plaintiffs are still attempting to collect on the judgment, including a share of about $1 billion in an escrow account holding funds previously in Swiss banks under Marcos family members’ names. The Philippine government is also laying claim to the money.

 

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