Martial Law activists challenge Senate, Aquino: Pass Indemnification Bill on or before December 10

News Release
November 14, 2012

Martial law activists led by SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) on Wednesday challenged the Senate and the Aquino government to pass the indemnification bill for Martial Law victims on or before December 10, International Human Rights Day.

“Just do it and pass the bill,” said Martial Law activist and SELDA chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez. “Statements here and there by our honorable senators and the President stating that the bill will be passed are all well and good, but we need all of you to ACT NOW and pass the bill into a law!,” Enriquez said.

Wearing shirts that say “Pass the Indemnification Bill Now!” some 20 leaders and members of SELDA trooped to the Senate session hall and dared to seek audience with the senators even if Senate 2615, also known as The Human Rights Victims Compensation Act of 2011, is not in the agenda of the plenary session.

The bill, if approved, shall provide compensation for thousands of victims of Martial Law. According to Enriquez, indeminification is an admission and acknowledgment that the Marcos dictatorship committed grave violations of human rights against the Filipino people. They also believe that the recognition which Martial Law victims are entitled to is already “beyond justification.”

“PNoy and our honorable senators still have 26 days until December 10 to make good their promise to the Swiss President and the international commuity.  We hope that the Executive and the Senate get their acts together and stop using us to deodorize their image among nations that they are now reformed politicians who respect human rights,” Enriquez said.

According to Enriquez, there are three points which they are continuously lobbying to be included in the bill: 1) the acknowledgment of the 9,539 victims who filed the historic class suit against the Marcoses in Hawaii, therefore recognizing the State’s legal and moral obligation to them; 2)  the removal of the clause which consider legitimate victims of human rights violations as only those who “peacefully” exercised their civil and political rights during martial law; and, 3) the inclusion of SELDA as one of the organizations that represent and facilitate services for the victims.

“These points are crucial for justice and recognition if we are to say that this bill shall truly represent the plight of the victims,” said Enriquez.

SELDA said the indemnification bill will be one of the main issues which they will carry on until December 10, as well as towards the upcoming elections in 2013.

“We will know who among national candidates have a basic sense of  redress and justice. The candidates’ action for the passage of the indemnification bill will serve as a parameter for us who are victims and survivors,” Enriquez said. ###

Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA chairperson, 0917-561-6800

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