Martial Law victims urge lawmakers to stand by “conclusive presumption”

Hundreds of Martial Law victims from Central Luzon and Manila gathered at the Senate grounds today while the bicameral conference committee deliberates the Marcos victims’ compensation bill for the third time.

Hundreds of Martial Law victims from Central Luzon and Manila gathered at the Senate grounds today while the bicameral conference committee deliberates the Marcos victims’ compensation bill for the third time.

News Release
January 23, 2013

3rd bicam hearing on Marcos victims compensation today
Martial Law victims urge lawmakers to stand by “conclusive presumption”

Hundreds of Martial Law victims from Central Luzon and Manila gathered at the Senate grounds today while the bicameral conference committee deliberates the Marcos victims’ compensation bill for the third time.

“We hope that they finish discussing the bill today,” said SELDA chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez, “we also urge them to stand by with provisions that recognize all legitimate victims, including the ‘conclusive presumption’ provision of the House version of the bill.”

The ‘conclusive presumption’ provision recognizes that the 9,539 victims, including the 24 direct action plaintiffs who filed and won the historic class suit of Martial Law victims against the Marcoses in 1986 are legitimate HRV victims that must be automatically considered as such under the proposed Philippine law. “They have gone through the tedious process of proving that they are victims under a competent court and must not be made to go through a grueling process again of relating their sufferings under the law; they have done so in the Hawaii court already. Enriquez added that the ‘conclusive presumption’ provision shall also encourage other victims who were not part of the class suit to come forward.

Fears that fake claimants may take the place of genuine victims should not be the case, according the group, because the bill has a number of mechanisms to prove this. One of the safeguards would be to involve the organizations of victims and other organizations that documented and assisted the victims in their struggle for justice. These are SELDA, FIND, TFD and some lawyer organizations that helped in the legal cases of the victims.

SELDA strongly believes that a final version of the proposed law will be hammered out by the BiCam in this, hopefully, last meeting as the bill has been promised by the President to be a priority bill of his administration and also by the Speaker of the House, Rep. Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte. President Aquino even promised the president of Switzerland that a law on the victims’ indemnification is forthcoming. Members of the BiCam therefore are urged by the victims to enact the law that embodies their aspirations and interests as a modicum part of justice they long deserve. ###

Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA chairperson, 0917-5616800

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