Filipino-American Vets Sue In San Francisco Court Over Compensation

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A lawsuit was filed in San Francisco on Friday on behalf of thousands of Filipino American World War II veterans and their families.

The suit challenges the compensation awarded from a law signed two years ago by President Obama.

The Filipino Veterans Equity Bill authorizes a one-time $15,000 lump sum payment to veterans. But attorney Arneto Valera said it’s unfair in a number of ways, including the fact that vets who aren’t U.S. citizens are eligible for only $9,000.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

“What is the rational basis here? There is none,” he said. “There is no rational basis because, again, the basis is the service.”

Valera was joined by about a hundred people outside the San Francisco Federal Building, including several Filipino veterans in full military dress.

Ninety-three-year-old Nestor Punlasan was a second lieutenant in the Philippine Army.

“I was in Cebu City. We were about to go to Bataan,” said Punlasan. “But then Bataan surrendered.”

Punlasan said he’s been unable to get his lump sum because his name doesn’t appear on the necessary records. He said besides that, he feels the compensation amount is unjust.

“There is no equity. It was not the same as what the American soldiers received,” he said.

The suit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is also seeking compensation for widows of Filipino vets, since those whose husbands died before the bill was signed are ineligible.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • oldfart

    60 years later and still suing. seems like the entire world thinks of America as a sponge to bilk free money out of. Enough is enough, the Fillipinos should just be grateful we liberated them, otherwise they be in Japanese forced labor camps today.

    What about the statue of limitations

    , I have a couple of suggestion,

    first let the families of the American vets that were injured or died in the Philippines sue the Filipinos for damages,

    Second let the U.S. be repaid for the cost plus interest we had to endure for the Phillippines independence.

  • oldfart

    I forgot the mention #3
    Let the Filipino government pay it’s own soldiers,

  • t1c

    OLDFART is like an A$$hold, everybody has them and it stinks!

  • Filipino American

    The Philippines was a U.S. colony and Filipino soldiers fought under the U.S. military to defend that U.S. colony. Filipinos were also the only non U.S. nationals who were allowed to enlist in the U.S. military. Although they fought for the U.S., they were not “rewarded” this $9K/$15K (not really going to change anyone’s life) for over 60 years? I don’t think they should sue for more. It took almost 20 years since this matter was initially raised in Congress to finally receive something. As a U.S. citizen from the Philippines with grandparents who served the U.S. military in WWII, what bothers me the most is that the funds to pay the Filipino veterans was sneaked in as pork in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It was not a separate bill that recognized the efforts of the veterans and it has nothing to do with American Recovery. It was like Congress throwing a bone at the veterans without telling Americans about it. That’s a shame. The veterans are heroes too and I think they should just request a monument to recognize their efforts and not sue for something they will never receive while they’re alive.

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