Manila tribunal rejects
Marcos assets freeze

The high court rules Swiss
accounts worth $683 million
belong to the government

MANILA, Philippines >> The Philippine Supreme Court upheld "with finality" yesterday its earlier decision to award to the government $683 million in the Swiss bank deposits of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, throwing out petitions by his widow and children.

The tribunal also criticized a ruling by the U.S. District Court of Hawaii imposing a global freeze on the funds, saying it has no jurisdiction over the Philippines.

In her petition, Imelda Marcos, along with daughters Imee and Irene and son Ferdinand Jr., said they were deprived of due process when the court ruled July 15 that the family "failed to justify the lawful nature of their acquisition" of the Swiss deposits. While not claiming direct ownership of the deposits, she said she "found herself deprived of her property rights."

The court countered that the law on which the forfeiture was based has not been shown to be unfair, unreasonable or unjust. It said the government was able to establish the presumption that the money was ill-gotten. In its original decision, the court said Marcos and his wife legally earned only $304,372.42 during his 20-year rule.

The Supreme Court also refused to recognize the U.S. District Court of Hawaii's global freeze order on the Marcos assets.

"We reject this order outrightly because it is a transgression not only of the principle of territoriality in public international law but also of the jurisdiction of this court recognized by the parties-in-interest and the Swiss government itself," the court said.


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