Compensation awaits victims of unjust detention, violence

(Photo Courtesy of Pia Aklan/Facebook)

By: Sheila Patoza

KALIBO, Aklan — The Board of Claims (BOC) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) urged victims of unjust imprisonment or detention and violent crimes in Aklan to avail of the compensation program purposely created for them.

Recently, the Board of Claims in coordination with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor-Aklan, conducted an information dissemination seminar here regarding the provisions of Republic Act No. 7309 or the law creating the Board of Claims, and its program and services. In attendance were the different sectors in Aklan.

According to the aforesaid provisions, victims of unjust imprisonment can claim a maximum of P1,000.00 for every month of detention not exceeding a total of P60,000.00; while victims of violent crime could get a maximum of P10,000.00 or reimbursement of expenses incurred for treatment, loss of wage and other related expenses, whichever is lower; and for those victims of enforced disappearance may be able to claim not less than P10,000.00.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Deana Perez, evaluator of BOC, revealed that in 2018, no one from the province of Aklan has applied for and availed of the compensation program of the agency.

She added that there is a low rate of victims nationwide who applied for the said compensation program, with only 57,794 claims which have been processed by BOC since its enactment in 1992 until June 2019 or a total of P472, 050,256.64 amount paid.

According to Perez, one of the factors for the low rate of applicants is the public’s lack of information on the existing program of BOC that provides compensation to the victims; hence an information drive nationwide is being strengthened by the Board.

The BOC encouraged the following persons to file claims for compensation:

  • those who were 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 which include rape and offenses committed with malice which resulted in death or serious physical or psychological injuries shall likewise refer to offenses committed with malice which resulted in death or serious physical and/or psychological injuries, permanent incapacity or disability, insanity, abortion, serious trauma, or committed with torture, cruelty or barbarity.
  • victims of enforced or involuntary disappearance once he/she reappears under the Republic Act 10353 or An Act Defining and Penalizing Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance.

In case of death or  incapacity of the  person  entitled  to such compensation,  the  claim  may  be  filed  by  his/her  heirs   in the following order: by his/her surviving spouse; child/children; natural parent/s, brother/sister.

The BOC stressed that the application must be done within six months after the victim had been released from imprisonment or after the commission of the violent crimes; except in the case of enforced or involuntary disappearance wherein the prescription period commences from the victim’s reappearance.

For the province of Aklan, the claimant may apply at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor here for endorsement to the Office of the Regional Prosecutor. (PIA-Aklan)