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Legislation

Brief on  House Bill 3315

 

(Compensation to Vicitms of Human Rights Violations)

A. SIGNIFICANCE / POLICY

1. The bill is a historic piece of legislation in the annals of the Philippine Congress. It provides for compensation to be paid to the thousands of human rights violation victims during the martial law period, September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986, including our brothers and sisters from Muslim Mindanao. The bill explicitly acknowledges the moral and legal obligation of the State to compensate the HRV victims pursuant to pertinent provisions of the Philippine Constitution and in adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the United Nations’ Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

2. It is the policy of the bill “to restore the dignity and honor of victims of summary execution, torture, involuntary disappearance and other human rights violations committed by agents of the State during the struggle against the regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos”.

3. The compensation provided by the bill is different from the award of compensation won in 1995 by the more than 9,000 HRV victims who constituted the class plaintiffs in the human rights litigation against Ferdinand E. Marcos and his estate in the US District Court of Hawaii. That award is based on the liability for damages incurred by Marcos for human rights violations committed during martial law against persons he perceived as his enemies, in violation of the Alien Torts Act of the US. The compensation is chargeable against the estate of Marcos, not against public funds of the Philippine government.

B. SALIENT FEATURES

1. The beneficiaries of the bill shall be the victims, during that period, 1) of illegal searches, arrests and/or detention, 2) of serious physical injury, torture or extra-judicial killing, or 3) of involuntary or enforced disappearances, or their heirs.

2. Compensation shall include both monetary as well as non-monetary compensation. The principal source of the monetary compensation shall be a portion of the P35 billion originally transferred in US dollars by order of the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland in 1997 and later adjudged by the Philippine Supreme Court as ill-gotten wealth of Marcos, in the amount of P8 billion. This amount is set aside and appropriated to fund the grant of compensation.

3. An independent Board of Compensation shall administer the grant of monetary and non-monetary compensation to legitimate “compensable human rights violations victims.” Priority shall be given to the HRV victims who won the human rights class suit in Hawaii in 1995.

The Board shall be headed by a retired justice of the Supreme Court of known probity and integrity. The Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights and the Secretary of the Department of Justice shall be members, as well as two representatives of two human rights NGOs appointed by the President.

4. The amount of compensation shall be in proportion to the gravity of the human rights violation inflicted on the HRV victim, following a point system provided for in the bill. The Board shall determine the classification of compensable claims and the appropriate or commensurate forms or amounts of monetary or non-monetary compensation or award.

5. Claimants shall file their applications for compensation within one year from the date of the publication of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the law. The Board shall complete their work within two years from the approval of the IRR, unless extended by Congress.

6. The IRR shall be promulgated by the Board within 60 days from its organization, in consultation with human rights NGOs, including organizations of victims.

7. The HRV victims, including those who opt not to collect compensation, shall be given recognition by the State by enshrining their names in a Roll of Human Rights Violation Victims to be prepared by the Board which shall be filed with the National Library and in such offices or agencies, national and international, which are dedicated to the prevention of human rights abuses. The victims shall likewise receive an official apology from the State, through the Board.

8. Claimants who file fraudulent and malicious claims shall be prosecuted and, if convicted, shall suffer imprisonment of 8 to 10 years and pay a fine of not less than P100 thousand but not more than P500 thousand.

9. There shall be a monitoring committee consisting of 3 representatives from the Senate, 3 from the House of Representatives and 3 from victims’ organizations. It shall be co-chaired by the chairpersons of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the House Committee on Human Rights.

10. Materials submitted by claimants shall be compiled by the Board, with assistance from the National Historical Institute, the University of the Philippines and the human rights NGOs for purposes of establishing an archive of HRVs, as well as the submission of an annual report to the President, Congress, the Supreme Court and the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights..

11. It does not absolve the Marcoses of any civil or criminal liability for human rights violations but acknowledges the important role and sacrifices made by the victims of human rights violations in the struggle against the Marcos regime. #
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BRIEF ON HB 2854

(Human Rights Resource Centers Act)

 

Despite the noble provision enshrined in our Constitution that provides for the full respect of human rights, the same has not been translated into effective laws that would ensure its actualization. HB 2854 proposes to translate this principle through the establishment of Human Rights Resource Centers (HRRCs) through the country that are aimed to facilitate the development and implementation of programs and activities that would inculcate a culture of human rights in governance.

Approved on Third Reading by the House of Representatives on 05 April 2006, the proposed law forwards that the HRRCs shall be:

 

The HRRCs are not duplication of the existing Barangay Human Rights Action Centers (BHRACs) of the CHR as the former, serving at the provincial level, will actually complement the latter. Further, the proposed law safeguards the politicization of the HRRCs by including the IBP and civil society groups in the composition of the centers.

HB 2854 also provides that the functions of the HRRCs shall be as follows:

download the House approved Human Rights Resource Centers Act.

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Comments»

1. VON ERIK P. VALERIO - December 5, 2006

great job.. rep. rosales! my father is a marcos human rights violation victim.. he is so frustrated because victims like him are still uncompensated for the cruelty they suffered.. its nice to know that there are people like you who are fighting to make a legislation that will serve equality and justice to the victims of marcos’ tyranny, just like my father.. more power!

Von Erik P. Valerio,
Son of Ricardo R. Valerio, Jr. (a Marcos Human Rights Victim)


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