3 months left to indemnify Martial Law victims

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 21 2018 01:29 PM

MANILA - A final batch of human rights victims during Martial Law is set to receive monetary reparation, as an independent board continues to clean up its list for any fraudulent claims with less than 3 months left before it is dissolved.

The Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board has only until May 12 this year to distribute the remainder of the P10 billion in Ferdinand Marcos’ secret Swiss bank deposits recovered by the Philippine government.

The board has approved 9,204 claims and released P362.4 million for 5,121 claimants, said board chairman Lina Sarmiento. 

She said the board had completed deliberations on all 75,730 claims and was “unlikely” to approve half of them.

The next batch of approved claims to be released this month could include less than 3,000 names, she said. 

“Sigurado pong merong hindi magiging masaya sa naging desisyon ng board dito,” she told a forum in Manila. 

(For sure, some will not be happy with the board's decision.) 

“Pero sana maunawaan nila na ang board ay tumupad lamang sa mandato na ibinigay sa kanya.”

(But I hope they understand that the board is only fulfilling its mandate.) 

Part of the challenge, she said, was winnowing out fraudulent claims, including those involving people who organized victims and “took advantage of their vulnerability.”

“Hindi natin alam kung hiningian sila ng pera (pero) pangako na kaya nilang ayusin yun,” she said, noting the grant of monetary reparation was “evidence-based.”

(We don't know if money was asked from them but they were promised that their claim will be addressed.)

Sarmiento said the board was now focused on distributing monetary reparation but could refer “glaring” cases of fraudulent claims to the Department of Justice.

Under the law, a person may be jailed for 8 years for filing fraudulent claims, she said.