Sherry Broder


Marcos Wealth Issue Raised in Federal Court

Attorneys for the plaintiffs note that abuse victims have not collected a cent

Tuesday, July 18, 2000

Agapita Trajano, whose son Archimedes was summarily executed under the regime of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, had vowed to seek justice.

But she died here in Honolulu last year without seeing justice done.

That's because a year and a half after nearly 10,000 human rights victims reached a $150 million settlement against Marcos' estate, they have yet to see a dollar or peso of that money, said Robert Swift, lead counsel for the plaintiff class.

Meanwhile, Marcos' widow Imelda; son, Ferdinand Jr., and daughter, Imee Marcos-Manotoc continue to live lavishly, travel to the United States and run for the Philippine Congress.

"A settlement not funded only becomes a laughingstock," Swift said yesterday in arguing for a termination of the settlement so the plaintiffs can collect from Marcos' widow, son and daughter individually. Many of the human rights victims and their heirs are getting old, dying and living in abject poverty, he said. "We simply want to get them paid."

Yesterday, visiting U.S. District Judge Manuel Real of California granted a termination of the settlement agreement as to Agapita Trajano.

He also continued the hearing to Sept. 11 to give the parties more time to comply with the settlement with the help of the U.S, Philippine and Swiss governments.

Real also ordered the Marcoses to appear for depositions in the United States next month and to bring their financial documents with them so assets they claim they don't have can be located, and to determine the source of the income and funds they expend on a daily basis.

The Marcoses have accrued $187,000 in contempt fines for failure to provide documents and appear for depositions. Real said he has seen no "good faith effort" by Imelda Marcos to make good on the settlement.

James Paul Linn, attorney for Marcos, said she signed the agreement and is willing to make payment but doesn't have that kind of money. She is trying to get the settlement paid by the escrow account but the Philippine courts have blocked the transfer, he said.

Meanwhile, the Marcoses are living off the generosity of relatives and friends. "I believe they are living off what they can borrow," Linn said.

While Imelda Marcos and son Ferdinand Jr. gave depositions in New York in 1992, they offered no information about any financial assets, said Sherry Broder, another attorney for the plaintiffs. Since then, they have continued to live the life of the "super rich," she said.

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