HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Honolulu attorney is helping compensate victims of torture and abuse during the Marcos era in the Philippines.
It’s been a decades-long and complicated legal fight led partly by Honolulu attorney Sherry Broder against the estate of former president Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda.
Hawaii’s been a focal point of the litigation because this is where the case began in March 1986 after the Marcos family were forced into exile, following a political revolution in the Philippines.
The Marcoses are believed to have stolen up to $10 billion from the Philippine’s treasury to support their now infamous lavish lifestyle of luxury.
Many lawsuits were filed as the lawyers tried to collect damages from the Marcos estate.
Lawyers for the human rights victims had to prove a pattern of abuse, such as rape, beatings, torture, murder, and the disappearances of thousands of political opponents.
Eventually the cases would escalate into what seemed like an endless battle involving appeals and counter-appeals.
After not being able to collect any money from the Marcos estate, Broder and lead counsel Robert Swift searched for Marcos properties in the U.S., such as bank accounts, real estate, and other forms of ill-gotten wealth, that could be proven to have been purchased with Marcos funds.
It's from those efforts and legal victories that the victims were finally able to be paid.
The most recent payment came this month.
The legal team traveled to the Philippines to distribute more than 6,500 checks for more than $1,000 each.
"It meant a lot to me after all these many years, 33 to be exact, to meet the clients and be able to give them a check for the suffering and losses they experienced," Broder said.
She believes the victims deserve much more.
Broder hopes to recover even more funds and continue the payments to the victims.