Marcos Money and Human Rights Victims

While I agree that the human rights victims during the Marcos dictatorship deserves justice, I view as correct recent decision by a US court which declared cannot overturn a foreign country’s Supreme Court. The Philippine Supreme Court earlier ruled that the recovered $683 million, a portion of the estimated $5 to 10 billion Marcos ill gotten wealth, belongs to the government.

Since Marcos used the state mechanism in suppressing citizens and violating their rights, I think it is the current government’s duty to see to it that the victims will get justice–part of which is getting compensated.

Some victims see the US court ruling as a defeat. In a way it is. But the battle did not end there. What they could do, as suggested by former PCGG chair Jovito Salonga, is to “claim damages against the Government for the wrongs committed by one of its organs.” They should also vigilantly pursue the cases against the Marcoses and support the compensation bill currently pending at the House of Representatives. Since the Comprehensive Agrarian reform Law mandates that the recovered Marcos money could only be used for land reform, a new law is needed to amend this so that any compensation scheme could proceed legally.

Much caution is needed, though, to ensure that no compromise with Marcoses which would prejudice the human rights claimants and the government would be crafted as the compensation bill goes through the process of legislation.

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