Campos Case: Out of Court Settlement in 2010

The Out of Court Settlement in the Texas and Colorado

More recently, alleged Marcos ill-gotten wealth amounting to USD 80 million has been traced to the United States. The class suit involves a 520-acre real property in El Paso County in Colorado and a total of 4,178 acres in seven pieces of real property, all in Tarrant County in Texas. The Marcos ill-gotten wealth recovery cases were separately filed with the US District Courts for the Northern District of Texas and the US District Court of Colorado.

Pimentel and the plaintiffs filed civil action cases as judgement creditors of the Estate of Marcos against the Denman Investment Corp. Inc. in Colorado and seven other shell corporations in Texas, identified as B.N. Development Co. Inc., Ellesmere Investment Corp. Inc., Jason Development Co. Inc., Pender Investment Corp. Inc., Revelstroke Investment Corp. Inc., and Vernon Investment Corp. Inc..

On 28 May 1986, Jose Campos, who managed overseas investments for Marcos, entered into a compromise agreement with the Presidential Commission on Good Government, tasked to sequester all the Marcos assets believed to be ill-gotten wealth. Campos declared 197 corporations and properties he claimed the Marcoses owned and that he was holding on behalf of the family. However, Campos did not include the aforementioned Marcos US properties as among those owned.

The human rights victims demanded that the Colorado and Texas courts, after evidence produced showing Campos as a Marcos dummy, declare that the properties were “beneficially owned by the Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos” and foreclose the same in favor of the victims of human rights for satisfaction of judgment that the US District Court of Hawaii rendered. (See:New ill-gotten wealth raps hound Marcoses By Christine F. Herrera, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Settlement in this set of cases was effected for USD 10 million with Jose Yao Campos. From this amount the claimants received USD 1,000.00 each in 2011. That is all the human rights victims have been able to receive to date.

Some 87 claimants, including Romulo Del Prado, the named complainant in the case title, filed objection to and withdrawals of consent over the settlement in the Colorado case. According to one journalist who is herself a claimant, Ninotchka Rosca, the bone of contention seems to arise from certain advocates being interested in a 15 percent cut of the award as well as participation in the distribution and apportionment of the funds. Atty. Swift avers that only the Hawaii District Court can determine the apportionment and distribution of any award and that it was his duty as counsel to “avoid one claimant or a group of claimants from scuttling opportunities for all claimants.”

In an order dated 16 November 2010, Judge Terry R. Means of the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas granted final approval of the settlement in Romulo del Prado versus B.N. Development Co. Inc., etc. Civil Action No. 4:05-CV-234-Y.

Swift was of the opinion that the settlement of USD 10 million was acceptable given that the evidence in their possession was circumstantial: the properties were only 4,000 acres (162 hectares) valued at USD 78 million and the litigation was costly and bound to be long drawn out. (PH Leaders Not Keen on Human Rights, Ninotchka Rosca, Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 17, 2010)

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