Fil vets remain hopeful after Supreme Court denies case for benefits

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Oct. 23, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO – Winning their discrimination case against the U.S. government and finally getting full military benefits could have given them the perfect gift this holiday season. But once again, these Filipino World War II veterans ended up empty-handed.

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Court of Appeals decision and denied the appeal in a case that would have granted full benefits to about 40,000 surviving Filipino World War II veterans and an estimated 80,000 widows.

“The Filipino veterans are really disappointed, knowing that this could have given them the justice they’ve been waiting for,” Violy Reyes, coordinator for the advocacy-group Justice for Filipino-American Veterans (JFAV), said.

The case did not close based on merits, but on procedure. The Supreme Court wanted the case to be heard by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Judicial Board. But according to JFAV, this process could take a long time. There are reportedly about 600,000 claims pending right now with the DVA Judicial Board. And the advocates feel the case would not be heard fairly, because the case is against the DVA itself.

These veterans admitted they are losing hope.

“This discrimination against us is wrong, and it needs to be corrected,” Aquilino Delen, a Filipino World War II veteran, said.

Veterans’ advocates said that technically it’s not a closed case, because no oral arguments were heard at the Supreme Court. They could still file a new case with the district courts, but that means spending more money and that’s something the veterans don’t have.

Their other recourse is to convince lawmakers to finally pass the Filipino American Veterans Fairness Act, which would give them full benefits.

These veterans said if they can’t win in court—they can win in Congress.

“As long as we are alive, we continue to have hope,” Filipino veteran Porfirio Robea concluded,

You may contact Henni Espinosa at henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com for more information.

4 Comments on this post.

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  • Kikay Pang0
    23 October 2013 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    I walked 2 miles in April 9,1942 and i should be entitled to collect cash benefits for life from the US govt …… medal is more appropriate not cash.

  • JD
    25 October 2013 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    @Kikay PangO how old you was when you walk 2 miles in April 9,1942 ? They should give you something maybe Money or a medal. Yes everybody wants something from America. I don’t understand why ? The philippines should pay America because we got they freedom back in the end of the war 1945 ? My dad was 16 years old and he was in philippines war time, but didn’t ask for anything, because he was true to his country, he didn’t care to collect cash or a medal, he said I did it because I’m true to my country !

  • RT
    26 October 2013 at 4:10 am - Reply

    Giving full military benefits on FilAm Vets is one of the promises from Obama before his second term election. With that gesture given to FilAM vets, I voted for him…come to find out…. its a hoax.. Another Democrat lies just to win elections.

    • JD
      26 October 2013 at 8:08 am - Reply

      @RT Welcome to America, the law-makers know you, is because they want you to vote for them. They don’t care about you. Obama is the biggest one that use people. He comes from Hawaii, the Hawaii people don’t like him. He says he was born in Hawaii ?

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