Communist leader an ‘instant millionaire’ after martial law payout

Jose Sison and his Julie De Lima pictured at the launch of a book in the Netherlands last year. File photo.

Communist leader Jose Maria Sison is an instant millionaire after receiving reparation from the government as a human rights victim during the martial law years.

Sison, founder of the of the Philippines, confirmed that he and his wife, Julie De Lima, were both awarded 1.2 million pesos for their detention and torture under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

“The remittance has been made to the bank account of Julie. We are instant peso millionaires. She got 1.2 million pesos and I got 1.2 million,” the 79-year-old communist leader told ABS-CBN.

“Whatever is the amount, the important thing is that the Philippine government accepted that violations of human rights occurred,” he added.

Reparation is guaranteed under a landmark law which recognised in 2013 “the heroism and sacrifices” of human rights victims of the Marcos regime.

Only 14 per cent of the total 75,749 claimants will receive reparation as the rest failed to prove they were victims of “gross human rights violations”, Lina Sarmiento, head of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board, has previously announced.

The reparation fund came from the 10 billion peso Swiss bank deposits recovered from the Marcos family.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) has recovered 170 billion pesos in ill-gotten wealth as as jewellery, art and other valuable assets.

As we reported last week, the House of Representatives approved a bill seeking to abolish this agency and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel. The two department’s functions and powers are to be handed to the Office of the Solicitor General.

“I think that’s a bad decision. If the function of PCGG is transferred to a pro-Marcos loyalist like Solicitor General Jose Calida, you have a problem there,” said Sison, who has been in exile in The Netherlands since 1987.