Withdrawals From Marcos Wealth Deplored

Chito Chavez | Manila Bulletin

MANILA, Philippines — As the country marks the 40th anniversary of martial law this month, activists held a protest rally at Mendiola Bridge on Monday to denounce the Aquino administration for the unmonitored withdrawals from former first lady and now Congresswoman Imelda Marcos’ account at Philippine Veterans Bank.

Members of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) said the Php 36.55 million Marcos ill-gotten wealth under the former first lady’s name is down a little over R1 million despite the garnishment order of the Sandiganbayan.

Earlier in August, the martial law victims suffered another setback after the Singapore Court awarded the $23 million of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth to the Lucio Tan-led Philippine National Bank (PNB).

Selda claimed that Tan is a known Marcos crony.

“We take on Mendiola once again just like 40 years ago so that the son of Ninoy and Cory Aquino hears and knows that we are still here and that 40 is not just a number to remember but also a reminder of the length of time we have been fighting impunity and for the attainment of justice,’’ Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Selda chairperson, said.

The group maintained that impunity still reigns after decades of struggling for justice.

“After overthrowing Marcos, we filed and won the now historic Hawaii class suit for victims of martial law. But even under the present “matuwid na daan (right path)” of Noynoy (President Benigno S.) Aquino, we continue to suffer from injustice,” Enriquez said.

“All we get from the Aquino government are reports of failure after failure. When are we going see this administration seriously work for the justice that we, survivors of that dark regime, truly deserve?” she said.

Trinidad Herrera, Selda board member deplored the state of the indemnification bill at the Senate. “It probably has grown mold at the Senate,” Herrera said of the measure.

The Senate Committee on Human Rights reported that it is still completing the signatories to the bill before bringing it to the plenary.

The group claimed the bill was first filed in 1997 and has never been signed into law up to the present even as Aquino rants about being a victim of martial law.

“We are not pawns that the government can use for their electoral campaign. The bill must be passed for the indemnification of victims and not as a publicity tool to enhance the image of those eyeing re-election,” Trinidad added.

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