By Leonel Abasola

File photo courtesy of Anadolu

MANILA – Senator Robin Padilla has filed a bill seeking higher compensation for victims of unjust arrest due to “mistaken identity.”

Padilla filed Senate Bill (SB) 2547 or Mohammad Said Act, citing the case of 62-year-old Mohammad Maca-antal Said, who was wrongly arrested in 2003 due to mistaken identity and was released only on Feb. 7.

“This representation proposes to ensure that any person unjustly detained or deprived of liberty due to mistaken identity shall be compensated based on the period of imprisonment or detention,” he said in his bill filed on Tuesday.

Under his bill, Padilla seeks to revisit Republic Act (RA) 7309 or An Act Creating a Board of Claims under the Department of Justice of Victims of Unjust Imprisonment or Detention and Victims of Violent Crimes and for Other Purposes.

Padilla recommended an increase in the monetary compensation to be awarded by the Board of Claims.

While the State does its best to uphold Sec. 1, Article III of the 1987 Constitution clearly stating that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process; or denied equal protection of the laws, he said “there remains the fact that errors in making an arrest or detention of a suspected offender, whether knowingly or not, are committed by our law enforcers.”

He cited an investigative report by ABS-CBN News in 2015, which said at least 51 recorded wrongful arrests made by law enforcers.

He also noted the Supreme Court has held that a person deprived of liberty due to mistaken identity is not under any lawful process and is continuously being illegally detained.

Under the bill, Padilla sought to amend Section 3 of RA 7309, to include “any person unjustly detained or deprived of liberty due to mistaken identity” as among those who can file for claims.

He also sought to amend Section 4 of RA 7309 to increase the compensation for victims of unjust imprisonment or detention to not less than PHP10,000 per month of detention.

Also under the bill, the annual funding for such claims shall partly come from 3 percent of the net income of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), and 3 percent of the proceeds and sales and other disposition of military camps in Metro Manila by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

He proposes that PHP50 shall be set aside from each filing fee in every civil case filed with the court as part of the Victim Compensation Fund, to be administered by the Department of Justice. (Leonel Abasola/PNA)