TRENTON, N.J. — A judge, convinced that ousted Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos stole money from his homeland, gave the Aquino government title today to a $1-million estate and $480,000 in bank accounts linked to Marcos.
Superior Court Judge Paul G. Levy's order is the first final judgment in this country on litigation by the Philippine government of President Corazon Aquino to regain assets allegedly acquired illegally by Marcos, lawyers said.
At a brief hearing today, Levy declared that the pre-Revolutionary War mansion in Lawrence Township used by Marcos' daughter, Imee, when she attended Princeton University in the 1970s is the rightful property of the Philippines.
The judge ruled similarly in handing over about $480,000 held in several bank accounts by Marcos' associates.
Levy said evidence showed that large sums of government funds and employees were used to buy and maintain the 13 1/2-acre estate and two other homes previously used by Marcos' son when he attended the University of Pennsylvania.
"They were caught red-handed in New Jersey," said Morton Stavis, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, which the Aquino government hired to recover properties linked to Marcos.