Filtered By: Topstories
News

DOJ-BOC, CHR create referral system for human rights victims


The Department of Justice-Board of Claims (DOJ-BOC) and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday signed a memorandum of agreement for the creation of a referral system for a program that seeks to compensate victims of violent crimes and unjust imprisonment. 

Through the agreement, the agencies seek to provide information on the Victim Compensation Program (VCP) to qualified beneficiaries and assist them in applying and securing the required documents, among others.

“As I have said in the past, there is a higher purpose to the monetary compensation given by the BOC to qualified claimants. The very creation of the VCP recognizes that there are imperfections in our legal justice system and give the people a mode of directly seeking this recognition by way of compensation,” Justice Undersecretary Deo Marco said in his speech.

He said that the reward represents hope for individuals whose justice has been denied, delayed, or remained inaccessible. 

CHR chairperson Richard Palpa-Latoc echoed this, saying that the agencies are ensuring recognition of the fundamental human rights and establishing accountability for violations or abuses through the MOA. 

He said the CHR may direct its beneficiaries to also seek financial compensation from the DOJ-BOC.

“Mapapalawak po at mapapalawig pa ‘yung serbisyo na binibigay ng BOC na entitled dito sa compensation. So, habang ginagawa namin ‘yung aming tungkulin sa pagbibigay ng assistance, masasabi na rin namin sa mga tao na maari niyo rin tignan ‘yung inyong benepisyo dito sa BOC,” Palpa-Latoc said.

(The service of the BOC will be intensified. So, while we are doing our duty in giving assistance, we can tell the victims that they may also look into the benefits given by the BOC.)

Meanwhile, BOC chairperson Miguel Guido Jr. expressed hope that the MOA would become a template for future negotiations with other government institutions.

Claims

According to the DOJ, those qualified for compensation are the following:

  • Any person who was unjustly accused, convicted, and imprisoned but subsequently released by virtue of a judgment of acquittal
  • Any person who was unjustly detained and released without being charged
  • Any victim of arbitrary or illegal detention by the authorities as defined in the Revised Penal Code under a final judgment of the court
  • Any person who is a victim of violent crimes.

“Doon po sa victims of unjust accusation and imprisonment, yun po talaga kailangan makadating sa court. All other violations like nung mga murder, hindi naman po kailangan na magkaroon talaga ng case namai-file except for rape,” BOC Operators Chief Jovyanne Escano-Santamaria said.

(For victims of unjust accusation and imprisonment, those cases must reach court. All other violations like murder doesn’t need to be filed except for rape.)

“Kasi nga po, because of the nature of the offense, rape being a crime that can be easily fabricated, we require po ‘yung resolution ng prosecutors and the information that has been filed in court,” she added.

(Because of the nature of the offense, rape being a crime that can be easily fabricated, we require the resolution of the prosecutors and the information that has been filed in court.)

She said that it is not required for the claimant to be indigent.

When asked if recently released film director Jade Castro and his companions are eligible, Santamaria said that they may apply for a compensation claim, subject to evaluation.

For their part, the camp of Castro said they will explore the remedy “if Jade and his friends fall under the criteria provided for the MOA.”

“But I would still need to check the language of the MOA before my clients can make any decision,” Atty. Carmela Pena, Castro’s legal counsel, told reporters.

According to data from the BOC, a total of 52,234 claims have been approved and P514.8 million have been paid from 1992 to 2003 under the program.

Santamaria said that under the present law, the BOC grants a one-time financial assistance amounting to P10,000.

“Doon sa amendment, sa proposed amendment na ‘yun, this P10,000, ang proposal po is to increase to P50,000. Pero pending pa po ang amendment,” she said. 

(In the proposed amendment, the proposal is to increase the P10,000 to P50,000. But this amendment is still pending.)

For his part, Justice Undersecretary Raul Vasquez stressed that the P10,000 financial compensation is not the only award given to victims as the court also orders the accused in the case to pay for damages.

“Itong P10,000 na ito ay tulong ng gobyerno sa mga biktima….’Wag natin isipin na hanggang diyan lang yung kompensasyon kasi ‘yung kompensasyon ay nakabangga doon sa gumawa ng karumal dumal na krimen,” Vasquez said.

(This P10,000 is to help the victims… but let’s not think that this is all the compensation that they will get. The compensation should be imposed on the one who did the crime.) —VAL, GMA Integrated News

LOADING CONTENT