On Etta Rosales’ Appointment to the CHR

The Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA), the organization of former political prisoners including those who were victims during Martial Law, expressed disgust over former Akbayan Rep. Loretta Ann Rosales’ appointment to the Chairmanship of the Commission on Human Rights, citing her record of impartiality and brazen compromises against Marcos human rights violations victims.

“Ms. Rosales has shown evident bias against most of the political prisoners and victims under the Martial Law period when she has sown disunity and created divisions among the victims by forming a breakaway group which took advantage of the victims solely for monetary claims. She has likewise formed a separate group of victims that would settle for monetary claims instead of substantive justice,” Romy Luneta, a member of SELDA, said.

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.

SELDA filed a class action suit against former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos for crimes against humanity in April 1986, two months after the EDSA People Power I. 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.

Marie Hilao Enriquez, SELDA Secretary General, said 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.
“For this, an enabling law is necessary. SELDA members and the majority of the victims who filed the class-action suit were not at all consulted when Rosales, when elected as Akbayan’s representative in 1998, drafted and filed her version of the Marcos Compensation Bill. This shows Rosales’ clear disregard of the victims’ interest for justice,” Enriquez commented.

SELDA also cited Rosales’ record of brazenly compromising the victims’ interest for justice when she agreed with the compromise settlement with the Marcoses in for pecuniary reasons and in exchange for the dropping of the entire class suit and possibly granting Marcoses immunity from future suits and dropping all criminal and civil suits of the Marcoses.

Enriquez said that with Rosales’ appointment to the CHR, they expect further impediments towards achieving justice for the human rights victims under the Marcos regime.

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