By RAYMUND VILLANUEVA
Two prominent survivors of Ferdinand Marcos’s martial law questioned the Court of Appeals (CA) ruling disallowing the payment of $2 billion in compensation to human rights violation victims.
Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) chairperson Bonifacio Ilagan and Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison in separate interviews questioned the January 3 appellate court decision against thousands of claimants.
In a three-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Normandie Pizarro, the CA’s former 12th Division affirmed its July 7, 2017 decision denying the motion for reconsideration filed by some claimants.
Ilagan said the CA’s latest ruling invalidates the landmark Republic Act 10368 of 2012 granting reparation and recognition to human rights violation victims during Marcos’ two-decade reign.
“Having read the profound arguments for ruling against the victims of human rights violations, I am now lost about the sense of justice of the venerable magistrates of the appellate court,” Ilagan told Kodao.
A young activist and artist during Marcos’s martial law, Ilagan was heavily tortured and imprisoned by the dictatorship.
His younger sister and fellow activist Rizalina, believed to be abducted by State agents under Marcos, remains missing to this day.
In February 3, 1995, after years of trial, a Hawaii court ordered the payment of compensation to claimants from Marcos monies given back to the Philippines by Swiss banking authorities.
A Makati Regional Trial Court however ruled that the enforcement of the claim over the estate of the late strongman Marcos could not prosper because of the Hawaii court’s lack of jurisdiction.
The lower court also ruled that the US court’s decision violated the parties’ right to due process.
In its July 2017 decision, the appellate court upheld the Makati sala’s ruling saying the Hawaii court’s decision was null and void for lack of jurisdiction and was “constitutionally infirm” as it infringes on Philippine sovereignty.
“Consequently, the Final Judgment rendered therein is not binding,” the CA resolution read.
The CA added the case was erroneously filed by some petitioners when the thousands of claimants remained unidentified.
But Sison said the decision to compensate victims was a result of a fair court trial participated by no less than the late dictator’s heirs.
“It is stupid to argue that a settled case in the US needs to be retried in the Philippines when, in fact, the issue is the collection of damages based on a judgment in a fair trial in the US,” Sison told Kodao.
Sison also denied the claimants were unidentified during the trial in Hawaii.
“The beneficiaries are documented. It is not true that they are unknown,” Sison said, pointing out his own and his wife Juliet de Lima’s cases of torture and illegal detention under Marcos are well-known.
Sison’s economist brother Francisco was also a victim of forced disappearance and murder.
“Julie and I were deposed, examined and cross-examined by my lawyers and Marcos lawyer in Utrecht [The Netherlands],” Sison said.
“[Many] other victims or their survivors gave their testimonies in the Philippines and the US under the authority of the US district court of Hawaii and with the consent and participation of the Marcos lawyers,” he added.
Ilagan added the timing of the CA decision is questionable.
“That its [CA] ruling comes right after the issue on the compromise deal involving the Marcos ill-gotten wealth makes this victim wonder: What next in the continuing saga that is the shameless rehabilitation of the Marcoses?” Ilagan asked. Reposted by