Quantcast
Latest Stories

Filipino war vets lose appeal in US court

Case involving benefits to reach Supreme Court

By

LOS ANGELES—Aging Filipino veterans seeking benefits for their World War II services have decided to take their case to the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court ruled against them, their lawyer said on Sunday.

“The fight continues,” said lawyer Arnedo Valera, who received the decision on Friday (Saturday in Manila). “Sadly, the decision highlights the continued discrimination against our beloved veterans.”

The lawsuit, filed by the veterans against the US Department of Veterans Affairs, said the benefits, including pensions and healthcare, granted to Filipino veterans were far below those received by their American counterparts.

More than 250,000 Filipinos fought for the United States during World War II and were promised equal treatment with American veterans after the war.

But in 1946, the US Congress enacted the Rescission Act that took away full recognition of Filipino war veterans and stripped them of their benefits.

In 2009, the US Congress approved the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Arra), a stimulus package that included one-time payments of $15,000 to Filipino veterans in the United States and $9,000 to those living in the Philippines.

But the lawsuit, filed in the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in October 2010, said the claims of thousands of other veterans were rejected since records from the Philippines proving their services were not accepted by US authorities.

The Department of Veterans Affairs required documentation from a federal registry in St. Louis, Missouri, where records were destroyed in a fire.

Some Filipino veterans also said it was unrealistic to get them to file their claims before the Feb. 16, 2010, deadline.

They described as discriminatory a provision of the law that denied benefits to widows and other survivors of veterans who had died before US President Barack Obama signed the Arra in February 2009.

In its decision, the federal appeals court upheld a federal judge’s dismissal of the lawsuit, saying there was no evidence that excluding the widows and other survivors of deceased veterans was discriminatory.

The appellate court also said that to conserve funds, the government could provide territorial residents with fewer benefits than those given to US citizens.

But the veterans are already US citizens and under the Arra they are recognized as having served the US Armed Forces, placing them on equal footing with the other US veterans, Valera said.

“So why are they not receiving the same benefits?” the lawyer asked.

“Because there is a serious constitutional issue and challenge based on the equal protection clause, we will go to the US Supreme Court. A historical injustice has been done to our veterans, and a historic decision by the Supreme Court can correct that,” he added.

Valera said the veterans were running out of time.

“Our veterans are dying,” he said. “In the next few years, the last veterans of World War II could perish without seeing justice.”

Quoting Felino Punsalan, 96, who recently wrote a letter to Obama asking him to issue an executive order giving full recognition to the Filipino veterans, Valera said: “As veterans, we do not beg for entitlement. We simply ask [for] the recognition that we earned with our sacrifice.”

The lawyer said he would file the case in the Supreme Court within the next 90 days.

Originally posted: 4:56 pm | Sunday, February 10th, 2013


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: court , Features , Filipino Americans , Filipino Veterans , Filipino World War II veterans , Global Nation , Philippines , rights and justice , US

  • http://www.facebook.com/Heckyehmen Jullan Karl Eugenio

    PurpleDaisy, I hope YOUR child doesn’t end up the same.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Heckyehmen Jullan Karl Eugenio

    and also, you say that “it takes a lot of money to hire these lawyers and whether they win or lose, someone has to pay thousands of dollars for compensating their attorneys….and being granted recognition is not a valid form of payment Jullan Karl Eugenio….” Of course, that’s why it is part of the BENEFITS.



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

  • 12 dead, 96 injured in Holy Week accidents–NDRRMC
  • Filipino devotees re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • Rouhani talks peace, outreach at army parade
  • Rains, thunderstorms on Good Friday
  • Carbon monoxide leak suffocates 20 in Catbalogan City
  • Sports

  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Hopkins, 49, seeks win for the ageless
  • LeBron still No. 1 with NBA’s most popular jersey
  • Pacquiao back in PH, heads home to wife, kids
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Marketplace