Press Release
May 15, 2023

Chiz seeks higher compensation for victims of unjust imprisonment, violent crimes

Sen. Chiz Escudero is pressing for higher compensation for victims of unjust imprisonment and violent crimes through amendment to Republic Act 7309 that created the Board of Claims under the Department of Justice (DOJ) more than three decades ago.

Escudero, who filed the proposal last year, expressed hope that the three Senate committees - Justice and Human Rights; Social Justice Welfare and Human Rights; and Finance - will expedite the approval of Senate Bill 884 along with other similar measures.

"The compensation provided, as well as the funds allocated, since its creation in 1992 have remained the same and thus proved insufficient as proper compensation at present times," Escudero pointed out.

"The law is already 31 years old. Ang halaga ng mga kompensasyon na nakasaad sa batas na ito ay hindi na makatarungan para sa mga biktima sa kasalukuyang panahon," he added.

In an interview, the Bicolano senator explained that victims of unjust imprisonment may seek other legal remedies to get justice for the many years they languished in jail and can avail of the compensation offered under RA 7309.

"Kapag ikaw ay wrongfully imprisoned na mapapatunayan at na-acquit, may kompensasyong ibabayad sa 'yo ang gobyerno. Hindi nga lang siyempre katumbas ng malaking sweldo na sana'y kinita mo, hindi katumbas ng sana'y malaking kita kung ikaw ay nagnenegosyo, pero mayroon tayong batas na ganoon," Escudero said.

"The current bill that I filed intends to increase the compensation amount. Hindi sapat pero at least, maamiyendahan ang isang mahigit tatlong dekadang batas," he added.

According to Escudero, his bill aims to reasonably compensate, at least financially, the losses suffered by the victims by increasing the compensation of unjust imprisonment or detention and victims of violent crimes authorized under RA 7309.

SB 884 also seeks to increase the annual funding and allocation for the Victims Compensation Fund managed by the BOC, which grants compensation to victims of wrongful imprisonment and violent crimes following an acquittal by the trial court for alleged offenses for which they have been wrongfully charged.

If enacted into law, the victims could claim up to P10,000 per month of incarceration from the current P1,000.

In all other cases, the bill stated that the maximum amount for which the BOC may approve a claim has been raised from P10,000 to P50,000 or the amount necessary to reimburse the claimant the expenses incurred for hospitalization, medical treatment, loss of wage, loss of support or other expenses directly related to injury, whichever is higher "without prejudice to the right of the claimant to seek other remedies under existing laws."

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