WASHINGTON (CN) – The Republic of the Philippines must be included in a lawsuit to determine ownership of property allegedly stolen by its former President Ferdinand Marcos.
The Pimentel class of human-rights victims sought to attach the assets of Arelma, S.A., which was founded by Marcos and is held by Merrill Lynch.
The 9th Circuit had awarded the property to the Pimentel class, ruling that the action could proceed without participation of the Republic of the Philippines and its Presidential Commission on Good Governance, which seeks to recover property that was wrongfully taken by Marcos.
Justice Kennedy ruled that the Philippines must be included in the legal proceedings.
“A foreign state has a comity interest in using its courts for a dispute if it has the right to do so,” he wrote. “Its dignity is not enhanced if other nations bypass its courts without right or good cause.
“The entities claims arise from historically and politically significant events for the Republic and its people,” Kennedy added, “and the entities have a unique interest in resolving matters relating to Arelma’s assets.”