Distribution of settlement for Martial Law victims to push through — human rights lawyer
MANILA, Philippines — The distribution of the $13.75 million settlement proceeds to Martial Law victims will push through despite the continuous efforts of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to block the deal, a human rights lawyer representing the victims said.
Lawyer Rod Domingo made the statement after the OSG renewed its rejection of the settlement deal which would give the thousands of human rights victims $1500 or P77,000 each.
The settlement will come from four paintings once owned by former First Lady Imelda Marcos which were sold.
“The [distribution] will definitely proceed pursuant to the press release dated April 7,” Domingo told INQUIRER.net in a text message Thursday night.
“The cases were all decided in the U.S. It will cause a lot of disappointment and despair to the deserving victims of the Marcos Martial Law era [if it will not push through],” Domingo added.
Domingo was referring to an earlier announcement that distribution of settlement will start on May 1 in Butuan City and several other cities in Mindanao after a U.S. federal court ruled in favor of the human rights victims.
Following the release of the decision, the OSG called for a “proper venue” to address the settlement, adding that the decision was released despite the opposition of the Philippine government.
Domingo then urged the Solicitor General to file an appeal with the U.S. courts where the rulings were decided.
“If the OSG is not happy because the impoverished victims will be awarded [with the settlement proceed], he should pursue his appeal in U.S. courts since the rulings were decided therein,” Domingo said.
“We appeal to the OSG and to President Rodrigo Duterte to ease the prevailing tension,” he added.
On Thursday, the OSG called out the lead counsel in the case, American lawyer Robert Smith, claiming that his intentions are not merely his willingness to help the victims, but also the millions of dollars that he would receive for handling the case.
“In the interpleader action alone, he has sought an unaccounted $4.125 million in attorney’s fees to be deducted from the alleged settlement fund of $13.75 million,” the OSG said.
Domingo, however, explained that the fees will cover Smith’s efforts and expenses during the case and that Swift “deserves more than the fees he applied for after more than 33 years of complex litigation in several states in the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, among other venues.”
“The attorney’s fees will cover all his advances and the rest to be paid to his deserving co-counsel in the cases which they are still handling up to the present time,” Domingo added. /muf
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