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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Judge Rations Settlement Among Victims of Marcos

(CN) - U.S. District Judge Manuel Real has begun the process of compensating more than 7,000 victims of human rights abuses committed under the 21-year authoritarian reign of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines.

Real is based in Los Angeles but heard the Marcos case in Hawaii. He directed that payments be made to the victim class out of a $10.2 million settlement fund established in November by the federal court in Fort Worth, Texas, one of several jurisdictions that have handled some aspect of the case since it was originally filed in the early 1990s.

Under the plan outlined by Real on Jan. 13, each of the 7,526 members of the class will receive $1,000 from the fund. In order to be considered eligible for the payout, recipients had to have submitted a claim between 1993 and 1999, now memorialized in a database maintained by the lead counsel for the court.

At the conclusion of the payouts, any undistributed funds will be returned to the class settlement fund, Real said. An additional $50,000 has been set aside from the fund to cover the anticipated cost of distribution.

Last November, U.S. District Judge Terry Means, of the federal court in Fort Worth, Texas, approved the $10.2 million class-action settlement, calling it, "fair, reasonable and adequate."

Those now poised to receive the $1,000 cash payments said they, or their family members, were subjected to torture, murder, rape and imprisonment for opposing Marcos when he ruled the Philippines from 1965 until February 1986, when he escaped to Hawaii. He died in exile, of cardiac arrest, on Sept. 29, 1989.

The class had obtained a $1.9 billion judgment against Marcos' estate in 1997, a judgment that was re-entered in March 2009.

Class members then asked a federal judge in Denver to transfer title of land allegedly bought with funds from the Marcos estate. The land included a 520-acre parcel in El Paso County, Colo., and nearly 4,000 acres in the Forth Worth area. Marcos allegedly owned the Colorado property through Denman Investment Corp., a tax haven set up by Jose Yao Campos, his longtime financial advisor and confidante.

The class sought judgment in Colorado based on the prior foreign judgment, and transfer of ownership of the land from Marcos' wife, Imelda, and her late husband's estate.

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