Marcos victims seek accounting of funds
Posted: 8:36 AM (Manila Time) | Jul. 18, 2004
By Dona Z. Pazzibugan Inquirer News Service
MARTIAL law victims who won a $2-billion class-suit against the estate of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1995 have demanded an accounting from the government of the $684 million in ill-gotten Marcos wealth recovered early this year.
Marie Hilao-Enriquez, head of a group of claimants, said the government had reneged on its promise to set aside P8 billion (about $150 million) from the recovered funds to compensate human rights victims under the martial law regime instituted by Marcos. Enriquez said the latest word they received from the Department of Budget and Management was that all the recovered assets had been put into the National Treasury's "general fund."
According to Enriquez, the DBM said it could not allot any money to compensate the victims since Congress failed to pass a law on this.
Congress needs to amend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law which states that all the recovered ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses should go to land reform.
Enriquez said the human rights victims had grown tired of waiting for the government to fulfill its "moral obligation" to compensate the martial law victims from the recovered $684 million.
She feared that the recovered funds would disappear once placed in the treasury's general fund.
"The performance of the government in terms of the ($684 million) puts into question its sincerity to compensate the victims," Enriquez said in an interview.
"We're demanding an accounting of the funds. There must be money for the compensation," she added.
US Hawaii District Court Judge Manuel Real recently awarded another $40 million found in the Arelma Foundation account of Marcos to partly satisfy the $2-billion award.
Malacaņang said that while it welcomed Real's ruling, any compensation for the victims should come from the government.
"We doubt if the victims would get any compensation if the Arelma funds go to the government," Enriquez said.
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