Marcoses human rights victims score major victory is US court

April 23, 2010 8:06 pm 

MANILA, April 23 — Filipino victims of human rights scored a major victory after the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision of a Texas federal judge dismissing the class lawsuit to obtain possession of 4,000 acres of Marcos real estate held in the name of entities controlled by Marcos cronies.

The real estate is reputedly worth between US$ 100 and US$ 150 million and under the name of Campos and Tan families.

The Court, in its April 5, ruling said that the class judgment of the Hawaii District Court against the Marcos Estate was valid in Illinois and was properly transferred to Texas.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision transcends the Texas case because the Republic of the Philippines, Philippine National Bank (PNB) and the Campos family had argued in litigation in other jurisdictions that the class victims no longer had a valid judgment.

“For the past two years the Arroyo administration, the PCGG, the Office of the Solicitor General, Philippine National Bank and the Campos family viciously attacked the class victims’ judgment. Their actions prevented the victims and their lawyers from collecting on their historic judgment. These parties’ vitriol – and the millions in legal fees they paid their counsel – went for naught. They bought the testimony of “legal experts” to say the judgment was no longer enforceable. They and their “experts” should feel deep shame and remorse for the harm they caused the victims of human rights.” Lead counsel Robert Swift, who argued the case in the Fifth Circuit said in statement.

Earlier, the victims also won a separate victory in the Singapore Court involving US$ 28 million prompting the Republic of the Philippines and Philippine National Bank to demande the list of names and addresses of all victims.

Swift, however said, Justice Kan Ting Chiu of that Court rebuffed the demand saying that,“the only purpose for demanding such a list is retaliation by military and paramilitary groups who first abused these victims during the Marcos regime.”

“No one should underestimate the vindictiveness of the current administration.” Court said.

The 9,539 Filipino martial law victims are members of a class action which was litigated in the United States against former President Ferdinand E. Marcos for torture, summary execution and disappearance resulting in a 1995 jury award which, with interest, is now worth over US$ 4 billion. Their Judgment was entered in Hawaii and later transferred to Illinois and other jurisdictions.

The cases of the Marcos human right victims in the Philippines started way back in 1986 after the EDSA I People Power revolution that paved the way to President Cory Aquino’s administration. (PNA)

V3/HCT

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