Philippines Orders Marcos Funds Seized.

A Philippine tribunal on Thursday ordered the immediate transfer to the government of $683 million in illegally accumulated funds from Swiss bank accounts of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The Sandiganbayan court ruling enforces last week's Supreme Court decision ordering the transfer of the money from an escrow account to the nation's treasury.

The Philippines National Bank has until early next week to make the transfer, Sheriff Ed Urieta told The Associated Press.

The Supreme Court ruled in November that Marcos illegally accumulated the money -- originally totaling $356 million when discovered in 1986 -- during his 20-year rule. The amount grew with interest.

The money was transferred to an escrow account at the Manila bank in the late 1990s on orders of the Swiss federal Supreme Court as part of Philippine efforts to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family.

In July, the Supreme Court ruled that the Marcos family failed to justify the source of its money, noting that the former dictator's wife, Imelda, legally earned only about $300,000 during her husband's two-decade reign.

Philippine law requires all recovered Marcos assets to be spent on land reform, but President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said she wants a portion used to compensate 9,539 Filipinos who won a class action lawsuit for human rights violations by the regime.

Marcos was ousted in a 1986 popular revolution and fled to Honolulu, where he died three years later.

[Source: NY Times Online, NY, Usa, 22Jan04]


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