At the SMNI Senatorial Debates last week, suspended lawyer Larry Gadon claimed incorrectly that there is no proof of human rights violations during the Martial Law dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, whose son and namesake has included him in the UniTeam slate of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas and Lakas-CMD parties.

His basis? A case that was dismissed by the Court of Appeals.

CLAIM: Petitioners who filed a class suit before the appellate court presented no evidence of human rights violations under the Marcos regime, leading to the case eventually being junked, the suspended lawyer said.

RATING: This is false. 

FACTS: The country’s own laws and the Supreme Court hold otherwise, while the case in question was dismissed for entirely different reasons.

The Court of Appeals decision cited by Gadon said that the case was dismissed because of lack of jurisdiction, not for lack of evidence. The same decision also noted that the right to due process of the unnamed claimants was violated.

The 12th Division of the CA held that the decision by the Hawaii district court was not binding as it did not have jurisdiction over the class suit docketed as Class Action No. MDL 840 that included unnamed claimants.

It cited a violation of the right to due process of all the unnamed claimants as well as the respondent Marcos estate.

“To our minds, the failure of the final judgment to meet the standards of what a valid judgment is in our country compels us to deny its enforcement,” read the 19-page ruling penned by CA Associate Justice Normandie Pizarro.

The Marcos dictatorship saw thousands imprisoned, tortured, killed, and disappeared — a fact that was recognized by the Hawaii court and affirmed by the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1995 and the Philippine Supreme Court in 2003.

Republic Act No. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act also recognizes that there “were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations” under the Marcos regime.

That law formed a board that would evaluate claims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime. Although passed during the presidency of Benigno Aquino III, the work of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) and the payment of reparations extended into the Duterte administration.

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