We envision a society which respects, protects, and fulfills human rights and provides effective remedy to victims of human rights violations to restore their honor and dignity.
The Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board was created by RA 10368 to recognize and/or provide reparations to the victims of gross human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos covering the period from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986. The Claims Board will also recognize the heroism and sacrifices of those whose rights were violated by enshrining their names in the Roll of Human Rights Violations Victims, as a matter of the state’s moral and legal obligation.
Powers and Functions of the Board:
(a) Receive, evaluate, process and investigate applications for claims under this Act;
(b) Issue subpoena/sad testificandumand subpoena/sduces tecum;
(c) Conduct independent administrative proceedings and resolve disputes over claims;
(d) Approve with finality all eligible claims under this Act;
(e) Deputize appropriate government agencies to assist it in order to effectively perform its functions;
(f) Promulgate such rules as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act, including rules of procedure in the conduct of its proceedings, with the Revised Rules of Court of the Philippines having suppletory application;
(g) Exercise administrative control and supervision over its Secretariat;
(h) Consult, at its discretion, human rights organizations and other stakeholders; and
(i) Turn over the database derived from the processing of claims to the Memorial Commission for archival purposes, and made accessible for the promotion of human rights to all government agencies and instrumentalities in order to prevent recurrence of similar abuses, encourage continuing reforms and contribute to ending impunity.
j) Perform such other duties, functions and responsibilities as may be necessary to effectively attain the objectives of this Act.
The Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) is a quasi-judicial body composed of three (3) divisions which function simultaneously and independently of each other in the resolution of claims for reparation. Each division is composed of one (1) Chairperson, who is a member of the Philippine Bar and two (2) members appointed by the Boarden banc.
The Chairperson of the HRVCB organizes a Secretariat to assist the Board in the performance of its functions.
Functional Statements per Office
1. THE BOARD EN BANC
The Board acts as the rule-making and policy decision-making body of the HRVCB. By law (R.A. 10368) it is mandated to perform the following functions:
v Receive, evaluate, process and investigate applications for claims or delegate to the Board Secretariat any aspect of these functions, provided that in the resolution of claims, it shall function in three (3) Divisions in accordance with Section 11 of R.A. 10368;
v Approve, adopt and implement guidelines, rules and procedures on claims, in accordance with said law;
v Approve, adopt and direct the implementation of plans, policies, programs and projects pursuant to its mandate;
v Approve, adopt and direct the implementation of policies for the conduct of researches on Martial Law victims; formulation of plans and monitoring of implementation; conduct of public promotion functions; and promotion of linkages with media and non-government organizations to effectively carry out its functions;
v Approve, adopt, and direct the implementation of administrative and financial management policies, rules, systems and procedures to ensure the efficient conduct of all operations of the HRVCB;
v Represent the HRVCB in any local and international fora, conventions and related activities where enunciation of its policies, opinions and positions is required;
v Perform such other functions as may be decided by the Board en banc in accordance with existing laws.
2.THE CHAIRPERSON (AS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER)
The Chairperson is the Chief Executive Officer of the HRVCB. The Chairperson is responsible for the management of the execution of the policies, rules and programs of the Board. As Chief Executive Officer, the Chairperson exercises the decision-making authority over all operational matters, except where such authority is expressly delegated to lower level management personnel, upon recommendation of the Chairperson and approval of the Board en banc. In particular, the Chairperson performs the following functions;
v Exercises overall authority in the execution by the HRVCB of its mandate and enforce the law and regulations pertaining to said mandate;
v Implements and enforces policies, decisions, order rules and regulations adopted by the Board en banc;
v Prepares an annual report for the approval of the Board en banc and for the distribution to government and relevant bodies and for dissemination to the general public;
v Prepares and submits for approval of the Board en banc its proposed annual budget for consolidation in the national government budget;
v Delegates authority for the performance of any functions to officials and employees of the Board in accordance with approved delegation policies of the Board en banc;
v Appoints all officials and employees of the HRVCB; and,
v Performs such other related functions as may be deemed necessary;
v She shall be assisted by one (1) Executive Assistant and one (1) Administrative Aide.
3. THE BOARD MEMBERS
The Board Members shall assist the Chairperson by performing oversight functions or specific spheres of work as may be decided by the Board en banc. Such oversight functions assigned to each of the Board Members are along key result areas, including but not limited to: general administration; investigation of fraudulent claims; public relations or communications; inter-governmental linkages; networking with non-governmental organizations; database or information system; and, research and trainings.
Board Members shall exercise advisory and steering functions such as providing advice, guidance and leadership within their spheres of work. In addition, they shall provide response mechanism through which issues, concerns, needs and problems requiring immediate action are resolved at the earliest time possible while those that are for policy consideration are brought to the attention of the Board en banc.
Each Board Member shall have a staff complement of one (1) Administrative Assistant and one (1) Administrative Aide.
4. THE SECRETARIAT OF THE BOARD
The Secretariat of the Board shall assist in implementing policies, standards, rules and regulations in accordance with the mandate of the HRVCB. It shall be headed by a Board Secretary appointed by the Chairperson. In particular, the Secretariat shall:
v Receive, evaluate, process and investigate applications for claims under the law;
v Recommend to the Board the approval, or other actions, concerning applications for claims;
v Recommend to the Board awarding of non-monetary reparation when proper;
v Assist the Board in technical functions;
v Recommend and/or implement administrative and management policies, rules and standard operating procedures to be established by the Board;
v Recommend and initiate programs, projects and policies which will promote productivity, efficiency and effectiveness in the office;
v Resolve operational issues in accordance with the levels of authority prescribed by the Commission;
v Undertake appraisal on issues/problems and policy recommendations requiring decision/action by the Board;
v Perform such other functions as may be assigned by the Board en banc.
5. BOARD SECRETARY
v The Board Secretary shall head the Secretariat for the duration of the existence of the Board and shall perform management functions over the Technical and Administrative Staff;
v S/He shall prepare the agenda, of meetings of the Board en banc and ensure complete recordings of proceedings;
v Undertake research, as may be directed, to support policy formulation, articulation of the Board en banc’s position on policies or guidelines on resolutions or decisions on claims;
v Formulate, propose to the Board en banc, and implement a central records management and or database system for the Board and act as the custodian of all records on human rights violations victims during Martial Law;
v Design, propose to the Board en banc and implement a system on the Roll of Victims and similar records;
v Prepare and issue directives to concerned offices, by authority of the Board en banc;
v Respond to queries from the public on matters pertaining to policies, rules and decisions, as authorized by the Board en banc; and
v Perform such other related functions as may be assigned by the Board en banc.
6. TECHNICAL STAFF
v Assist in the development, and implement a working system in the reception, evaluation and investigation of claims, ensuring said claims’ compliance with the required sufficiency in form and substance, completeness and conformity with law, implementing rules and regulations and issuances of the HRVCB;
v Promptly attend to the filing of claims. Keep an efficient and transparent records management system to facilitate accessing and processing of claims;
v Assist in designing, and implement mechanisms in handling/resolving opposition to applications as well as investigation of fraudulent claims and recommend actions to the concerned Division;
v Advise and assist the Board en banc and the Chairperson on matters pertaining to the office’s delegated functions;
v It shall be composed of a Technical Staff Head, assisted by five (5) Legal Officers and three (3) Paralegal Officers;
v It shall perform other related functions that may be assigned;
7. ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF
v Perform support service functions particularly in the organizational and financial aspects of the HRVCB;
v It shall be composed of an Administrative Staff Head supported by one (1) Administrative Assistant III, an Accountant III, a Budget Officer III and a Financial Claims Examiner I;
v Assist in the formulation of personnel administration concerns consistent with CSC rules and regulations;
v Establish a procedure and implement capacity-building and technical assistance program to improve personnel performance relative to the processing and evaluation of claims, investigating fraudulent ones, among others;
v Administer the approved annual expenditure program of the HRVCB, prepare allotment releases and design and operate budget tracking, evaluation and reporting system;
v Develop and implement a financial management system, within the context of an independent HRVCB that will promote the efficient and effective generation, allocation and accounting of all financial resources, in order to support the operations and achievements of coals of the Board.
v Administer the annual cash program through the formulation of cash disbursement policies, and be responsible for overall management of the utilization of funds
v Establish and maintain HRVCB books of accounts for a sound and efficient accounting operations and provide assistance to the office;
v Prepare financial reports required by oversight agencies, he Chairperson, Board, and provide regularinformation to the HRVCB offices on the status of their respective budget allocations;
v Formulate standards, distribution policies and accountability systems for common office equipment and office supplies, and develop as well as implement inventory management systems for the various central and regional offices, including their implementing procedures;
v Perform other related functions.
Composition of the Board
Chair: Lina Castillo Sarmiento
Galuasch G. Ballaho
Byron D. Bocar
Dexter B. Calizar*
Glenda T. Litong
Jacqueline Veloria Mejia
Aurora Corazon Alvareda Parong
Erlinda Nable Senturias
[* On 10 October 2015, Atty. Dexter B. Calizar replaced Atty. Jose Luis Martin Gascon who was then appointed as Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights.]
The Chair of the Board, Lina Castillo Sarmiento, has a long experience in forensic investigations, police community relations and implemented reforms as head of the PNP Human Rights Affairs Office. Jose Luis Martin Gascon was a Constitutional Commission delegate which framed the 1987 Philippine Constitution that integrates human rights and social justice, taking off from lessons during martial law.
Three have worked with the Commission on Human Rights - Jacqueline Veloria Mejia worked as Executive Director of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for 27 years and takes with her extensive managerial experience. Byron Bocar, a lawyer who was forced to seek refuge in the Netherlands worked at the CHR and in Congress. Galuasch Ballaho, a Muslim lawyer from Mindanao worked with the newly established Regional Commission on Human Rights in the ARMM.
Aurora Corazon Alvareda Parong and Erlinda Nable Senturias are medical doctors who visited jails and evacuation centers and rendered services to victims of torture, families of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and internal displacement during martial law. Senturias worked with the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform while Parong worked with Amnesty International. Both worked with the Medical Action Group and have a track record of 3 decades of work on health and human rights.
There are 6 lawyers – Wilfred Asis, Glenda Litong, Gascon, Mejia and Bocar. Litong helped in the gathering of evidence for the class suit filed by martial law victims at the the Hawaii court and has worked with the Women’s Legal Human Rights Bureau and the UP Institute of Human Rights. Wilfred Asis, a lawyer from Mindanao, has been a member of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) and the Nationalist Alliance for Justice Freedom and Democracy.