Former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Loreta Rosales on Tuesday slammed the Court of Appeals (CA) for denying the bid of thousands of human rights victims to get reparation for the human rights violations they suffered under Martial Law.
Rosales branded the CA ruling “absurd” and vowed to pursue the case up to the Supreme Court.
The appellate court’s 12th Division upheld the decision of the Makati City regional trial court dismissing the class suit filed Rosales, retired Judge Priscilla Mijares, movie director Joel Lamangan, Hilda Narciso and Mariano Dimaranan in 1997 against the Marcos estate.
The CA said that the decision of the Hawaii District Court awarding almost $2 billion in damages to 10,000 human rights victims during the administration of Ferdinand Marcos cannot be enforced in the Philippines. The court also noted that Rosales and her group did not identify the other claimants whom they claim to represent.
“The CA made it appear that we were fraud, that the people who filed claims cannot act in behalf of other claimants when 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,” Rosales said.
“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 Act? This shows that the CA is just nitpicking, and only a bird nitpicks,” she added.
The former CHR head was referring to the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act passed in 2012 that mandates the Philippine government to grant compensation to victims of human rights violations under Martial Law using the P10 billion assets of the Marcos family retrieved by the Philippine government from Swiss banks.
Rosales said her group will appeal the court’s decision.
“The CA justices should not be trapped under this mental state of absurdity. We will file our appeal [before the CA]and we are prepared to take it all the way to the Supreme Court,” she told The Manila Times.
“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? Why would you deprive the victims of justice? The mandate of the justices is to look for the benefit of the victims. Torture, desaparecidos (victims of enforced disappearances), summary killings are different crimes? These are all human rights violations. To say that these are different makes the CA’s argument silly,” Rosales fumed.