Congress urged to expedite law for compensating victims of unjust imprisonment, violent crimes

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Congress urged to expedite law for compensating victims of unjust imprisonment, violent crimes
This photo shows a picture of officials from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Board of Claims and Commission on Human Rights during the joint signing of a Memorandum of Agreement for the referral of victims to the DOJ.
Facebook / Department of Justice

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) is urging the Congress to fast-track the legislation aimed at increasing compensation for victims of wrongful imprisonment and heinous crimes.

During the memorandum signing between the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and DOJ’s Board of Claims (BOCL) on Thursday, Justice officials emphasized the importance of increasing the compensation to align with the current standard of living.

“Meron tayong pending na batas, nasa Congress na pinapaakyat natin ito, 'yung amount. Ang batas na ito ay medyo outdated na, iba na 'yung sitwasyon noon at ngayon kaya sana tulungan tayo ng mga kasama sa gobyerno, sa legislative branch na mapataas na ang compensation,” DOJ Undersecretary Deo Marco, who is also the undersecretary of the BOCL said. 

(We have a pending law in Congress that we are pushing to increase, the amount. This law is somewhat outdated, the situation was different back then compared to now, so we hope that our colleagues in the government, in the legislative branch, will help us increase the compensation.)

“The system is different there…merong pending bill na itataas 'yan kasi 'yung P10,000 na 'yan 19 kopong kopong pa. So it’s no longer real, it's not realistic,” DOJ Undersecretary Raul Vasquez also said in his closing remarks.

(The system is different there... there's a pending bill to increase it because that P10,000 is outdated. So it’s no longer real, it's not realistic.)

“We will try to coordinate with the Office of the President para gawing priority bill ito pong batas na dapat ilabas na, kakakusapin natin ang kongreso para 'yan ay maging totoo at makamit natin ito,” Vasquez added.

(We will try to coordinate with the Office of the President to prioritize this bill, which should be passed into law. We will talk to the Congress about this to make it a reality and achieve it.)

Republic Act No. 7309, enacted in 1992, established the Board of Claims (BOCL) under the Justice department. The BOCL's primary purpose is to provide compensation to victims of unjust imprisonment or detention, with payments of up to P1,000 per month.

For victims of heinous crimes, the BOCL has the authority to approve claims of up to P10,000, or the amount needed to reimburse the claimant for expenses such as hospitalization, medical treatment, loss of wages, loss of support, or other directly related costs, whichever is less.

The call for the compensation hike was lobbied in the House of Representatives in February 2023 citing its outdatedness. 

From years 1992 to 2023, 52,234 claims were approved amounting to P514,4881,257, according to state assistant prosecutor Jovyanne Escano-Santamaria, who is also BOCL’s chief of operations.

When asked if this could be applied to the case of film director Jade Castro, who was recently released after a Catanuan Regional Trial Court granted his motion to quash, Santamaria said he needs to apply for an application to which the BOCL will evaluate. 

For individuals who suffered unlawful detention, the proposed increase will be P5,000 per month of imprisonment, which has a limit of P60,000, according to Santamaria. 

For victims of heinous crimes, meanwhile, the one-time P10,000 financial assistance is proposed to be increased to P50,000.

Vasquez also reminded that the financial assistance from the BOCL is just the aid of the government to the victim. The actual compensation, through damages, should be shouldered by the perpetrator of the crime. 

“Lahat ng expenses, lawyer fees, could be claimed against the other party. It's up to the court to determine…your claim. If you can prove, you would be able to get monetary compensation,” Vasquez said. 

(All expenses, including lawyer fees, could be claimed against the other party. It's up to the court to determine the validity of your claim. If you can prove it, you will be able to get monetary compensation.)

vuukle comment






  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with