(CN) – A federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas, has approved a $10 million class-action settlement for nearly 10,000 victims of human-rights abuses under the Marcos regime in the Philippines.
In approving the settlement, U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means effectively put to rest a case that had lasted nearly a quarter of a century and had worked its way through multiple federal courts.
He called the settlement “fair, reasonable and adequate.”
The nearly 10,000 members of the class said they were subjected to torture, murder, rape and imprisonment for opposing Ferdinand Marcos when he ruled the Philippines from 1965 until February 1986, when he escaped to Hawaii. He died in exile 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 Imelda Marcos and the estate of her late husband.
The settlement approved by Means placed $10 million into a class-action settlement fund and tasked the federal court in Hawaii with distributing settlement money directly to Marcos’ 9,537 victims.
The defendant companies are expected to sell the 4,000 acres in the Fort Worth area and the 520 acres in Colorado to satisfy the judgment.