Senate wants to guard HR Reparations bill from fake victims – Joker

SENATOR Joker Arroyo defended the Senate version on the Human Rights Reparation Bill saying that the deliberation on the measure is being tightened to avoid fake victims to claim for compensation.

In a radio interview, Arroyo explained that the Senate is only safeguarding not only the money allocated for the human rights claimants, but from fake victims of abuses of the Marcos dictatorships.

“Kami sa Senado ayaw namin magkamali sa bagay na iyon, we should always be careful baka marami ang maghihinanakit dyan. Halimbawa, mabigyan ng award ang isang peke, pagkatapos nabayaran na, tapos sasabihin ito, nag-collaborate ito sa Martial Law. Collaborator ito ng  Martial Law, bakit nabigyan ng award. Eh di masama naman ang records ng Board,” Arroyo said.

“Halimbawa maraming nabigyan ng award, pagkatapos  may magsasabi na hindi naman biktima iyon hindi naman nakulong, hindi naman inapi, hindi naman tinortyur.  Sa mga namatayan, dapat they have to explain, kasi wala na iyong tao, patay na pagkatapos binigyan ng award,  the proceeds will go to the family, pagkatapos awarded by the Board, sabihin lamang pero hindi pala victim,” he further said.

Arroyo is referring to the Board of Claims that will be established by the Human Rights Reparation Act to deliberated, process and award the reparations to all actual victims of human rights violations from the P10 billion fund escrow with the National Treasury.

“They (Board) will hear the claim and they will recognize the victims and award the claims,” he said.

Tentative recognition

He said in the Senate version, they wanted to assured that those claimant are really victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos dictatorship which to be processed by the Board. “Gusto na namin matapos nay an.”

“But, we only want to guard the integrity of the Board so that they will not be criticized that there somebody claimed who are not victim, that is why we are very, very  careful about that,” he explained.

Arroyo, the human rights lawyer during martial law, said that in the Senate version, those who claim in Honolulu will be tentatively recognize but they should apply for the claim upon the establishment of the Board.

“In short they are acknowledged as victims, but in the Senate version they should be fair to all. We are protecting the integrity of the Board, those who won in the Hawaii submitted only affidavits,” he explained.

“The Senate said, alright you are recognized as victims  but reputable presumption meaning you are recognized but if there is one who opposed your status, you will be deleted from the claimants. Kung may komontra sa status mo, you have to do it all over again from the beginning,” he added.

Nationalist perspective

Arroyo also said that on the nationalist perspective of those 20 percent remaining claimants who did not submitted their affidavits before the Hawaii District Court wanted a Philippine body to determined their claims.

“The remaining 20 percent do not want to claim or lodge a complaint in America, and let the Americans judge them for the Human rights victims in the Philippines.  They preferred a Philippine body if they are entitled or not,” he said.

He added that the remaining 20 percent claimants also wanted to be given justice in the country not in American soil since the human rights violation was committed in the Philippines.

“A Philippine body should approve it, not an American court.  Biruin mo naman ang history natin, the ones who awarded a human rights compensation is an American court, hindi naman tama, it should be a Philippine board, it should be Philippine justice,  parang ang nagbigay sa atin ng hustisya Hawaii Court, hindi puwede iyon,” he said.

“There are very many who did not want to file. Tinanong kami dito eh, dumating dito si Robert Swift. How can we represent by an American lawyer in American court since it happened in Philippine soil.  Kaya maraming hindi sumama doon. Dapat Philippine court maghusga  sa amin, nakakahiya naman iyon. Kami human rights victims, who said so? The Hawaiian court, biruin mo iyon,” he added.
Honor roll of HR victims

Arroyo also said that he, including other human rights lawyers, will have to apply for inclusion in the honor roll to be established by the law.

“The Tañadas, the Dioknos, Aquinos should apply. Maski ako mag-aaplay, Marami dyan na mag-aaplay, pero hindi naman kokolekta, Wala naman kami dyan na ano eh. Maraming mag-aaplay diyan na naghirap din si Tito Guingona, si Nene Pimentel, Serge Osmena, na hindi naman sila nag-apply sa Hawaii Court,” he said.

With this, he said there would be no favouritism among famous human rights lawyers and  incumbent lawmakers who suffered during the abuses of Martial Law.

“Walang favouritism, they should show documents, it will be included in our history. Hindi puwedeng gawin na kung ano-anong tsismis,” he said.

“We want a Philippine court to handle that,” he said.

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