Martial law victims want info on new Marcos deal

THE daughter of one of the original named plaintiffs in the historic class suit versus former president Ferdinand Marcos and class members among the 9,539 plaintiffs in the suit raised questions on the proposed settlement agreement negotiated by counsel Robert Swift on the Marcos ill-gotten wealth in the name of Jose Y. Campos or the corporations owned or controlled by Campos.

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, whose parents are lead plaintiffs in the class suit and is the current chairperson of the Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), said class members were able to know of the said settlement agreement only during the last week of September.

SELDA, an organization of former political prisoners since martial law, led the Marcos victims in filing the class action suit against Marcos for crimes against humanity in April 1986, two months after the Edsa People Power uprising.

In September 1992, the US Federal District Court of Hawaii decided in favor of the 9,539 Filipino victims and ordered the Marcoses to pay the victims almost $2B for damages.  In 1997, the Swiss Supreme Court ordered the transfer of the then US$540 million Marcos ill-gotten Swiss deposits to an escrow account of the Philippine National Bank, in favor of the Philippine Government.

“As in the previous agreements which our class counsel tried to enter into, we have requested for Atty. Swift to consult the named plaintiffs and class members on this recent settlement agreement, yet he refuses to do so. In the interest of transparency and in accordance with his duty, he should duly consult the class members on the contents and issues of the settlement,” Hilao-Enriquez said.

“While we welcome his efforts to supposedly collect money for the compensation of Marcos’ victims during martial law, we would like to remind Atty. Swift to always consult the victims every step of the way of such agreements,” Hilao-Enriquez said.

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