Tuesday, July 27, 1999 Published at 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
Marcos' millions blocked
"The Marcoses are still substantially endowed" said the court
Plans to recompense 10,000 victims of human rights abuses in the Philippines during the rule of President Marcos have run into legal difficulties.
A court in Manila has blocked an agreement which was reached in February between the heirs of former President Ferdinand Marcos, and the victims or their relatives.
The proposal was to share $150m among them from assets now worth more than $500m allegedly stolen by President Marcos while he was in power and kept in secret Swiss bank accounts.
But a special anti-corruption court says ownership of the assets is still being legally disputed by the Philippines Government and the Marcos family, and so cannot be used for compensation.
The court said that payment to the victims should come from the Marcoses' own pockets, and not from the Swiss bank accounts, held in escrow by a Manila bank.
A court statement said: " It is obvious today that none of the Marcoses are living in any demonstrable degree of poverty. Rather, recent political and social events have shown that the Marcoses are still substantially endowed."
The court argued further that compensating the victims with the money would mean renouncing "forever" all further civil claims against the Marcoses.
Back to square one
The BBC's John McLean in Manila says that the February settlement was hailed as a breakthrough at the time.
Thirteen years of trying to recover the vast fortune that Mr Marcos allegedly embezzled had until then produced few results.
The Marcos family were even more satisfied because a court in the United States had originally awarded the alleged victims $2bn in damages.
Victims reacted angrily to the latest setback and said they would appeal to the Supreme Court.
The government also has said it will appeal against the court's decision. In the meantime, the search for the Marcos fortune is back to square one.