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MARCOS ESTATE ORDERED TO PAY FAMILIES OF 2 MURDERED ACTIVISTS

SHARE MARCOS ESTATE ORDERED TO PAY FAMILIES OF 2 MURDERED ACTIVISTS

Ferdinand Marcos, the late deposed ruler of the Philippines, was found liable Friday in the 1981 murders of two anti-Marcos activists in Seattle.

Marcos' estate and his widow, Imelda, were ordered to pay more than $15 million to the survivors of Silme Domigo and Gene Viernes.Family members and supporters of the plaintiffs cried as U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein read the unanimous verdicts and erupted in cheers when the judge dismissed the jurors.

The verdicts found Marcos and his widow were part of a conspiracy and were negligent in a way that led to the shooting deaths on June 1, 1981, in offices of the Alaska Cannery Workers Union.

A six-member jury deliberated five hours before ruling on the involvement of the Marcoses in the shooting deaths of Domingo and Viernes.

"We were informed today that the jury in Seattle has rendered a substantial damages award against the estate and myself," Mrs. Marcos said in a statement issued in Honolulu. "We believe there are important legal issues in this case which will ultimately cause the verdict to be reversed. Our lawyers have been instructed to pursue all appropriate remedies."

The civil lawsuit was the first of several legal cases against the Marcoses to go to trial in this country, according to the Marcoses' attorney, Richard Hibey of Washington, D.C.

Michael Withey, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said he would ask state prosecutors to reopen the criminal investigation in the case.

Three men were convicted of murder in 1981 and 1982, but on the theory that Domingo and Viernes were killed because of an internal dispute in the union, of which they were reform officers.

"Clearly, the foreign head of state of a country has been implicated in crimes committed in the United States," Withey said. "Other countries, such as El Salvador and South Africa, better not try the same thing in the U.S."

Jurors had to decide whether the Marcoses were part of a conspiracy that led to the murders and whether they were negligent in exercising control over their intelligence network.

A unanimous verdict on either of those questions was sufficient to find Marcos' estate and Mrs. Marcos liable and subject to damages.

Survivors of Domingo were awarded $12,794,000, while Viernes' survivors were ordered to receive $2,254,000.

Attorneys for victims' survivors had asked jurors to calculate the Marcoses' liability at about $10 million.

The civil trial had a lower standard of proof than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" proof required in criminal trials.