THE Court of Appeals (CA) ruling denying the bid by victims of human rights abuses committed under Martial Law of the late president Ferdinand Marcos violates existing laws and, as such, is absurd, a former head of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said.
“What is the audacity of the CA to deny the legitimacy and justness of the class suit of the claimants when we and our class suit are already recognized legitimate by no less than the Philippine Supreme Court?” Etta Rosales told The Manila Times.
Rosales was reacting to an appellate court ruling dismissing the petition of the victims, who included Rosales, to enforcement a decision by the US federal court in Hawaii in February 1995 awarding $1.964 billion worth of Marcos’ assets to the victims of the atrocities during 20-year dictatorship.
The court said the petitioners failed to identify all claimants and cited the varying degrees of human rights violations – from torture, summary killings to enforced disappearances.
Rosales and the other claimants filed a class suit against Marcos (MDL No. 840, CA No. 88-0390) in the US Federal District Court of Honolulu, Hawaii.
Rosales argued that it was baffling for the CA to question the legitimacy of the victims of human rights violations or the claimants in the class suit when the Supreme Court ruled in July 2003 that the 10,000 claimants in the suit were entitled to compensation from the $10 billion Swiss bank deposits of Marcos, which has been deemed ill-gotten by the High Court in the same ruling.
Rosales also cited the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act passed in 2012 recognizes the legitimacy of the 10,000 claimants under MDL No. 840.
The law mandates the Philippine government to compensate the victims of human rights violations during the Martial Law years such as summary executions, enforced disappearances and torture using the P10 billion ill-gotten wealth of the late president Marcos and his family retrieved by the Philippine government from the Swiss bank.
The Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act reads: “The claimants in the class suit and direct action plaintiffs in the human rights litigation against the estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos (MDL No. 840, CA No. 88-0390) in the US Federal District Court of Honolulu, Hawaii wherein a favorable judgment has been rendered, shall be extended the conclusive presumption that they are human rights violations victims.”
“On top of the Supreme Court ruling, we have a law that recognizes the validity of our class suit and the legitimacy of the 10,000 claimants under that class suit. Besides, how can the CA question the legitimacy of the 10,000 claimants when 4,000 of those 10,000 were already granted compensation just last May under this Reparation law?” Rosales stressed.
“The CA is just nitpicking, and only a bird nitpicks. The CA justices should not be trapped under this mental state of absurdity. We will file our appeal [before the CA]by the last week of July, and we are prepared to take it all the way to the Supreme Court,” Rosales added.