The first 4,000 victims of martial law abuses who will soon receive partial compensation from the government are mostly those who won a class suit in the United States against the estate of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1994.

Lina Sarmiento, chair of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB), said official notices would be sent to the 4,000 claimants by mail “within the next two weeks.”
A list of eligible claimants will be published in major newspapers once a week this month beginning Friday, Feb. 10.

The list will be published in the Inquirer on Feb. 10, 17 and 24.

The 9,539 martial law victims who were awarded $2 billion in civil damages by a US district court in Hawaii in 1994 are automatically considered among those who will receive reparations under the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10368).

The law recognizes victims of human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship and provides reparations for them using P10 billion in ill-gotten wealth of the late strongman recovered by the government from Swiss banks.

“Of the members of the class suit who filed the case in Hawaii, more than 3,000 filed their claims with us. We just rounded it off to 4,000” for the distribution of initial payments,” Sarmiento told the Inquirer on Thursday.

“Right now, we are in the process of finalizing all the decisions, editing the decisions for all the 4,000 claims that are already approved,” she added.

All the 4,000 decisions will be mailed simultaneously to the claimants to give them a chance to appeal the monetary awards before these become final.

Aside from the 4,000 approved claims, “many” others have been approved out of the 30,027 claims from victims of summary killing, torture, forced disappearance, rape and other harassment that have been evaluated so far, Sarmiento said.

She, however, declined to divulge the other claims for now, saying the board planned to finish first evaluating all the 75,730 claims filed before it announced the list of approved claims.

Sarmiento also said the board would not yet send out notices of denial of claims. “I don’t want to create confusion,” Sarmiento said.

If the claimants are not satisfied with their monetary award, they have 10 days to file an appeal upon receipt of the decision.

Those who want to oppose an award have 15 days from the last day of publication to file an opposition before the board.