Marcos victims urge President-elect Noynoy to prioritize compensation of Martial Law victims in his order of business.

Today, the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya, the organization of former political prisoners, many of whom were tortured, urged President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to prioritize the enactment of the Compensation Bill for Victims of Martial Law, upon his assumption as the 15th President of the Republic.

“It has been 18 years since we won our case in the US Federal Court, but until now, not one of the decisions of the Court has been realized. President Noynoy knows very well the issue at hand as his family, like the rest of the hundreds of thousands of us, was also victimized by Marcos and his cohorts. I am certain that they are also seeking justice for the illegal detention, torture and assassination of their father, former Senator Ninoy Aquino, ” stated Romeo Luneta of SELDA.

Romeo Luneta and his 8 siblings were tortured and imprisoned during martial law. His sister Maxima, who was pregnant then, lost her child due to heavy torture. Her sister in law, a seamstress, together with her 3-year-old daughter (Mr. Luneta’s niece) were abducted and went missing since 1976; both were never found until this day.

In April of 1986, two months after the EDSA People Power I, SELDA filed a class-action suit against Ferdinand Marcos for crimes against humanity. In September 1992, the US Federal District Court of Hawaii decided in favor of the 9,539 Filipino victims and ordered the Marcoses to pay the victims $ 2 B for damages. In 1997, the Swiss Supreme Court ordered the transfer of the US$540 million Marcos ill-gotten Swiss deposits to an escrow account of the Philippine National Bank, in favor of the Philippine Government.

“The Swiss Supreme Court was clear in its order that the victims of Martial Law who filed charges against Marcos in the Hawaiian Court must be considered by the Philippine Government once the latter moves the escrow account. And to do this, an enabling law is necessary, but until now, no law has been passed by Congress even as the ill-gotten wealth, which the victims helped recover, has been supposedly funneled to the National Treasury for General Appropriations. The indemnification law is long overdue; the victims are dying and the Marcoses are once more occupying powerful positions again. Thus, it is high time for a Philippine President, and we urge President Noynoy Aquino, to do an affirmative action in favor of the victims,” added SELDA leader, Ka Trining Herrera.

“The indemnification of victims of human rights violations is part of rendering justice, justice not only for us direct victims but for the Filipino people terrorized by Marcos’ Martial Law. The absence of an indemnification law, and most especially, NO prosecution of the perpetrators, has made the violators and the succeeding regimes much bolder in violating the rights of the people, just like the outgoing regime of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Not passing the law continuously deny justice to the victims. VIOLATIONS AND IMPUNITY MUST END, JUSTICE TO THE VICTIMS NOW!,” concluded Ka Trining. ###

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