MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers who pushed for the measure seeking reparation for human rights victims during the martial law period welcomed its enactment into law on Monday, and called the 27th anniversary of the Edsa Revolution “victorious.”
Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, one of the main authors of the measure in the House of Representatives, hailed President Benigno Aquino III’s signing of the reconciled version into law.
Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Neri Colmenares said that the 27th year commemorating the People Power Revolution became even more a “victorious day” for human rights victims because of the enactment of the Human Rights Victim Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 or Republic Act 10368.
The new law seeks to provide compensation for victims of human rights violation during the regime of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, including plaintiffs of an earlier case resolved by the US Federal District Court of Honolulu, Hawaii.
“At long last, the long wait for the martial law victims is over. Many years after the Hawaii Court recognized us, sarili nating gobyerno naman ang nag-recognize,” said Colmenares who recalled being “heavily tortured… imprisoned” as a 17-year-old student leader during martial law.
Lagman said that the enactment of the said legislation capped off his trilogy of legislative human rights measures which he pushed towards approval as a member of the House.
The Albay lawmaker also authored the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 or RA 9745 and the Anti-Enforced of Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012 or RA 10353.
Under the new law, a board will consider the claims of victims of summary execution, enforced disappearances, torture and other violations of human rights from the martial law period and validate the amount to be granted for each victim from the P10 billion Marcos ill-gotten wealth which was transferred to the Philippine government by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.
Victims filing their claims for the first time are required to provide detailed sworn affidavits within a period of six months from the effectivity of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 10368.
The law seeks to finance the creation of a museum, library and repository of memorabilia for martial law victims.
It will also require schools to teach martial law from elementary to tertiary levels.