Press Release
November 26, 2018

Senate passes measure extending the availability of funds for HR victims 'til end of 2019

Voting 16-0-0, the Senate on Monday, November 26, approved on third and final reading Senate Joint Resolution No. 13 extending the availability of funds for victims of human rights violations during the administration of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee chair Sen. Richard Gordon has endorsed for plenary approval without amendments Committee Report 495 containing the joint resolution filed by Senator Francis Escudero and Senate President Protempore Ralph Recto extending the availability of funds for the indemnification of human rights victims until December 2019.

The House of Representatives approved its counterpart House Joint Resolution 26 in August this year.

The resolution seeks to extend the maintenance, availability and release of billions of funds deposited at the Land Bank of the Philippines. This will also authorize the Commission on Human Rights to administer the effective distribution of funds to qualified human rights victims or their heirs or representatives until the end of next year.

Section 7 of Republic Act 10368, or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, states that more than P10 billion, which has been ordered forfeited and adjudged as Marcos ill-gotten wealth by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court in December 10, 1997 in favor of the Republic of the Philippines, as the principal source of funds for the implementation of this Act.

In April, 2016, a law was passed extending the effectivity of RA 10368 until May, 2018.

However, as of May 11, 2018, the Human Rights Victims Claims Board had been able to approve and duly recognize only 11,103 claimants out of more than 75,000 applicants. The board was able to completely resolve 6,737 appeals before the deadline.

The measure seeks to ensure that all legitimate claimants under RA 10368 will be able to get their monetary reparations, particularly those who were issued checks by the Land Bank of the Philippines.

Escudero noted that as of June 28, 2018, the Human Rights Victims Claims Board account with the LBP reported a balance of P792.629 million. The amount, Escudero said, can only be maintained until August 11, 2018, after which the balance would be reverted to the Bureau of Treasury. However, there were reports from several approved claimants' relatives that they were not able to encash the checks even with the issuance of Special Powers of Attorney.

"It is the sense of the Senate and the House of Representatives that the funds be effectively distributed, especially to the approved and qualified claimants," the joint resolution stated, stressing that the Commission on Audit, the LBP and Bureau of Treasury should coordinate with the Commission on Human Rights to ensure the distribution of valid claims.

News Latest News Feed