Victims of rights abuses under the regime of Ferdinand Marcos will pursue further assets of the deposed Philippine dictator after a U.S. court awarded them $7.5 million this week, their lawyer said on Friday.
About 7,500 Filipinos will receive around $1,000 each from the middle of February under the settlement, lawyer Rod Domingo told Reuters.
Marcos ruled for two decades before he was overthrown in 1986, fled the country and died in exile in Hawaii. His family has since returned and retains power and influence in the Philippines.
“This is just icing on the cake,” he said, adding the claimants were pursuing other Marcos assets worth $60-70 million.
“This is a compromise agreement between the victims and the people handling the Marcos assets in the United States. The government and the Marcos’ heirs are not contesting the deal.”
On Thursday, a U.S. court approved the payment in a class-action lawsuit filed by rights abuse victims in the late 1980s. The claim focused on land near Fort Worth, Texas, which the Philippines Commission on Human Rights said had been controlled by a Marcos crony.
“This is a good development,” Abigail Vaite, spokeswoman of Philippine President Benigno Aquino, told reporters.
“It’s high time this happened,” she added.
In a statement, Domingo said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the government’s stance, describing the court deal as “triumph of the poor and the oppressed.”
In 1995, a Honolulu court awarded $2 billion to the same group of rights victims after a jury found Marcos responsible for torture, murder and disappearance of thousands of suspected communist rebels and political foes during his 20-year rule.
However, none of that has been paid because the Philippines contested the ruling after the state had declared as public funds an estimated $10 billion in cash, property, stocks, art works and jewelry the Marcoses had amassed while in power.
Marcos’ widow, Imelda, infamous for her collection of jewelry and shoes, won a seat in Congress at elections last year. Her son is a national Senator and one of her daughters is a provincial governor.