After 14 years, Makati court set to decide $2.3-B human rights case vs Marcoses
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - Fourteen years after receiving the petition of the 10,000 Martial Law victims to enforce the Honolulu court ruling, a Makati court is set to decide on the $2.3-billion case against the Marcoses after a couple more hearings, said the lead Filipino counsel of the victims.
According to human rights lawyer Rod Domingo Jr., former first lady Imelda Marcos and her children are expected to oppose the petition to enforce the $2.35-billion judgment when it hears the Marcoses' position on September 17 and 18.
After the hearing, he said, the court is expected to decide on the victims’ petition, which was filed 14 years ago in 1998.
He said the judgment being sought for enforcement by a local court was won in 1995 by the Martial Law victims in a Honolulu court that awarded the victims $2.35 billion worth of indemnification for the atrocities suffered under the Marcos regime.
“The Marcoses are supposed to oppose this petition when the court holds its last hearings on September 17 and 18,” said Domingo in an interview with reporters.
But he expressed confidence that the enforcement case proceedings will be favorable to the almost 10,000 Martial Law victims.
Domingo said the 25-year prescriptive period for the judgment has been reached and there is no way that the Marcoses can question the validity of the Honolulu court decision. The decision was declared final and executory by the US 9th Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court.
He said the Swiss federal high court which ruled in July 2003 to return the more than $680 million Marcos Swiss loot to the Philippines also recognized the Honolulu court judgment won by the Martial Law victims.
The human rights lawyer said it is ironic that foreign courts have recognized the judgment won by the Martial Law victims but a local court has yet to enforce the landmark decision.
No to Bongbong Marcos' run for president in 2016
Martial Law survivors also criticized the hypocrisy of the Marcoses, 40 years after the atrocities, particularly the presidential plans of Marcos son, Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos.
Ramon Casiple, head of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms, said there is a bigger issue of “bringing the Marcoses to the bar of justice.”
“The struggle is not yet finished as we see no remorse and admission to the atrocities on the part of the Marcoses,” Casiple told reporters during a commemoration event of the 40th year of Martial Law.
He lamented the fact that Senator Marcos is even eyeing the presidential seat in 2016. And as young voters have very little knowledge of the atrocities during Martial Law, they are likely to elect him, he said.
Martial Law victim and now chairman of Commission on Human Rights Loretta Ann Rosales urged full support for the passage of House Rresolution 2608 to integrate the lessons of Martial Law in basic education. The bill filed by Akbayan Representatives Walden Bello and Kaka Bag-ao urged the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines.
“The Marcos dictatorship was marked by unparalleled human rights violations. No less than an institutional teaching of its history is needed to remind the people of the need to safeguard their rights against systemic abuses and to fend off attempts to curtail their rights in the future,” said Rosales in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Rosales, who founded Claimants 1081, a group of Martial Law victims who fought court battles against the Marcoses said the historical truth to be taught our youth through HR 2608 is simple: “Martial Law was bad for the 'health' of the Filipino people, bad for the wealth of the Filipino nation, and bad for the country’s democratic institutions.”