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Some victims of human rights abuses under Martial Law will be awarded P50,000 each following a US court settlement for a painting that used to be owned by former first lady Imelda Marcos.
At a ceremonial distribution held in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Robert Swift, lead legal counsel of the victims said 6,556 claimants will receive compensation, which he said he will personally hand to them in the form of a check.
The money, totalling $15 million or P675 million, came from the settlement by the Hawaii District Court of a claim on an 1899 painting by French artist Claude Monet that the court said was illegally sold to a European millionaire, a report on "24 Oras" aired Thursday evening said.
Swift said claimants expect a total of about $2.3 billion in funds for distribution to human rights victims when other ill-gotten wealth cases pending in several courts are resolved.
"Those judgements, together, total, without interest, about $2.3 billion, so we have a long way to go. Realistically, I'm hoping that in the next couple of years we can finish the cases and recover as much money as we can," Swift said.
Zenaida Mique, executive director of Claimants 1081, an organization for victims of abuses during Martial law, meanwhile expressed gratitude for the compensation.
"Nung naipanalo namin yung kaso noon, it's already a political victory for us. Itong P50,000 na ito ay napakalaking bagay lalo na dun sa mga biktima na mga magsasaka, mga maliliit na mangagawa, mangingisda," she said.
The first distribution of compensation happened in 2011, when victims shared $10 million from the sale of two Marcos properties in Texas. — Elizabeth Marcelo/JDS, GMA News