Philippines should pay Marcos regime victims
A United Nations committee has ordered the Philippines to stop delaying payment of compensation to victims of Marcos regime.
THE Philippine government has been dragging its feet for more than a decade since a federal jury in Honolulu awarded $2 billion to human-rights victims of the Ferdinand Marcos regime. At long last, the Philippines should heed a ruling this month by the United Nations Human Rights Committee
that it stop any further delay.
None of the jury's award has been made because what the U.N. panel called the matter of "minor complexity" has been tied up by foreign banks and Philippine claims of ownership of accounts. The $2 billion judgment has nearly doubled because of interest accrued since the 1995 verdict.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered initial payments of only $2,000 to each of the 7,500 plaintiffs. The republic is appealing the ruling to the Supreme Court. If the appeal is rejected, as expected, the victims should begin to receive payments from $35 million in a Merrill Lynch account opened by Marcos in 1972.
The U.N. committee said the Philippines should provide "compensation and prompt resolution of their case on the enforcement of the U.S. judgment."
Plaintiffs attorney Sherry Broder said she was "ecstatic" about the committee's action. However, the Philippines Presidential Commission on Good Government played down the committee ruling, the Manila Times reported.
Its commissioner, Narcisco Nario, referred to pending bills in the Philippine congress, particularly one to allocate $210 million for the victims. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is expected to sign the legislation into law.
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