PCGG: Marcos human rights victims should give up $2B claim, if...

By Rainier Allan Ronda, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 26 2013 08:19 AM | Updated as of Jan 26 2013 04:19 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Human rights victims during the Marcos regime should consider giving up their claim on the $2 billion awarded to them by a Hawaii district court in 1994, if or when they get their share in the P10-billion fund under the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 slated for ratification by Congress on Monday, Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) Chairman Andres Bautista said yesterday.

“They should voluntarily give it up. They should no longer contest it,” Bautista said, referring to Marcos’ alleged ill-gotten funds, particularly those stashed away in New York and Singapore banks. Some $39 million is reportedly kept in the Bank of America and $30 million in the West LB in Singapore.

Bautista said efforts of the lawyers of the 10,000 unnamed Marcos human rights victims to force the release of $2 billion in compensatory damages were reportedly making it harder for the government to repatriate the late strongman’s ill-gotten wealth.

“The human rights victims were able to obtain a judgment from a Hawaii district court against the estate of Ferdinand Marcos – $2 billion. It is against Marcos. The funds in Singapore and New York, these are ill-gotten wealth. These belong to the Filipino people, these do not belong to Marcos and therefore, they should be brought back to the national government,” Bautista explained.

“I think they should stop it,” he said, referring to legal moves to force the release of $2 billion to human rights victims.

“The PCGG has been fully supportive of the passage of the bill. In fact, we think that it is long overdue,” Bautista said.

“The (Marcos) human rights victims have long suffered with the long wait for compensation, it’s time that they are compensated. We’ve been fighting for the passage of that bill,” Bautista added.

“But now that the bill is about to be passed, the question is: what are they going to do? Will they continue to pursue the cases in New York and Singapore?”

The bicameral conference committee on Tuesday approved the reconciled version of House Bill 5990 and Senate Bill 3334 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, whose brother Hermon remains missing since his abduction by security forces during martial law, is one of the principal authors of the House measure.

Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in 1989, three years after he was ousted in a bloodless revolution. Covered by the compensation measure are human rights victims from the declaration of martial law on Sept. 21, 1972 to February 1986, the lawmaker said.