Human rights victims scarred anew

Published April 2, 2019, 5:54 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Ellson Quismorio 

An opposition lawmaker said Tuesday that the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) is “scarring” Marcos era martial law victims anew with its refusal to implement the $2-billion class action award on the Marcos assets to the claimants.

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin

According to Akbayan Party-List Rep. Tom Villarin, martial law victims continue to suffer “and most likely, finding justice for the victims is now slowly losing its grip under the Duterte administration.”

Created by the late former president Corazon Aquino, the PCGG is a quasi-judicial agency that is tasked to recover ill-gotten wealth accumulated during the Marcos regime in the Philippines.

“It’s a clear turnaround from its previous position to allow the negotiations to award it to the victims,” Villarin said of the Duterte administration following the PCGG’s failure to implement the settlement.

“With all proceeds of said award going to the government, it makes a mockery of a transitional justice mechanism contemplated under the Human Rights Victims Compensation law,” said the congressman, who is a member of the “Magnificent Seven” opposition bloc.

It was only a month ago when President Rodrigo Duterte signed a joint resolution (Senate Joint Resolution No. 13 and House Joint Resolution No. 26) for the extension of the maintenance, availability, and release of the funds for victims of human rights violations until December 31, 2019.

Such extension was needed because the account of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) with the Land Bank of the Philippines can only be maintained until August 11, 2018, after which funds will be reverted to the Bureau of the Treasury.

But with the latest development, Villarin said that granting justice for Marcos human rights victims is as bleak as ever.

“Justice for the Marcos human rights victims is slipping further away from our grip as President Duterte is now reversing whatever gains have been made for their behalf.

“The Marcos burial in the heroes’ cemetery, impugning that the Marcoses did not amass ill-gotten wealth, political alliance building, and now PCGG backtracking in awarding human rights claimant-victims all point to this trend of Duterte reviving the Marcos dictatorship,” said Villarin.