Latest Stories

Bill providing compensation to martial law victims may become law in early 2013


MANILA, Philippines—Proponents of the long-delayed bill to compensate victims of human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship are hopeful that 2013 will be the year that the measure is finally enacted into law.

The passage of the law would end years of waiting for the victims of torture, killings, and enforced disappearances, and their kin, for remuneration and the official recognition by the state of their ordeal during Martial Law.

Both Houses of Congress are set to hold their bicameral conference in January to reconcile conflicting provisions in their versions of the proposed law, according to Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello, one of the bill’s authors and a member of bicameral committee.

The Senate only passed its version of the bill on Monday last week, while the measure was approved in the House last March/

The bicameral conference committee will have to come out with its final version of the bill by February 2013 so that it could be ratified before congress adjourns for the campaign period for the May elections.

The bill’s co-author Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, also a member of the bicameral committee, is optimistic that the measure will be ready for the President’s signature by 2013, and sees no major hitches that could hinder its passage into law.

“I’m sure the compensation bill will pass this time. It’s about time that the most popular bill that did not pass three congresses will pass this time,” Colmenares said.

Bello is likewise hopeful about the bill’s prospects of becoming a law. He explained that the bicameral conference committee did not convene immediately this month because the House panel members wanted to first discuss among themselves what provisions they would be firm on and what would be open to negotiations during the bicameral discussions.

He also said the panel’s members wanted to study whether the 80-20 division of the compensation fund would be legally sound. Under the proposed law, 80 percent of the fund would go to people confirmed as Martial Law victims by a Hawaii court decision, while the 20 percent would be for those de-listed from the Hawaii ruling and for new claimants.

“We have some discussions on that. We want to make sure that’s constitutionally correct,” he said.

Aside from Bello and Colmenares, the other members of the House bicameral conference committee for this bill are Bohol Rep. Rene Relampagos, Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Makati Rep. Mar-Len Abigail Binay, and Zambales Rep. Ma. Milagros Magsaysay.

President Aquino earlier vowed to help fast-track the passage of the compensation bill by talking to Congress leaders. He gave this assurance in November during a meeting with Swiss President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf.

Mr. Aquino had said the compensation bill was not just about money, but about the state’s recognition that at one point in the country’s history, the government put up by the people was used to curtail their rights. He also said future generations must formally know of the “nightmare” and “aberrant period” in the country’s history so that this would not be repeated in the future.

The President’s parents also played key roles during Ferdinand Marcos’ rule. His father, Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., an ardent critic of the Marcoses, was assassinated on the tarmac after returning from exile in the United States in 1983.

His killing outraged people and solidified the movement to oust Marcos from power, which paved the way for the President’s mother, Corazon Aquino, to ascend to the presidency.

Under the House version of the compensation bill, the tax-free remuneration for victims or their kin would be taken from Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth that Swiss authorities have returned to the Philippines.

The victims would also be entitled to non-monetary compensation from various government agencies.

The bill also declares it the policy of the state to recognize the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations committed during the Marcos regime, and to restore the victims’ honor and dignity.

It also says the state acknowledges its moral and legal obligation to recognize and/or compensate said victims and/or their families for the deaths, injuries, sufferings, deprivations and damages they suffered under the Marcos regime.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Crime , Ferdinand Marcos , Human rights , human rights violations , justice and rights , law and justice , Marcos dictatorship , Martial law , News , torture

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. US teacher fired over comment on black president
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. Filipinos, Dane re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  4. Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  5. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Massive infra spending set
  8. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  9. Easter crucifixions draw huge crowds
  10. Korea ferry captain arrested, divers spot bodies
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  8. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  9. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • 16 suffer burns in Batangas sugar factory accident
  • Angat level drops; cloud seeding set
  • Indigenous aspiration in Bangsamoro
  • Banahaw continues to lure pilgrims, trekkers
  • Passion of Christ moves survivors
  • Sports

  • Tottenham beats Fulham 3-1 in Premier League
  • Martino defends Messi, takes blame for Barca fail
  • Vettel hoping for resurgence at Chinese GP
  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Minnie Driver plays devastated mother to a stillborn child
  • Business

  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Learning by doing: pilgrimage of faith
  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • Marketplace