“The height of insult and indifference to ML victims!” – SELDA

News Release
14 February 2014

Aquino appointment of PNP general as rights victims claims board chair

“The height of insult and indifference to ML victims!” – SELDA

SELDA expressed disgust over the appointment of a retired police general as chair of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board that shall process the recognition and reparation of Martial Law victims – PNP Director Lina Castillo-Sarmiento.

“This is the gravest insult that the Aquino government inflicted upon the victims of Martial Law. Sarmiento was part of the Philippine Constabulary that implemented, along with the AFP, the worst of human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship. How can we accept that?” exclaimed Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of SELDA.

Not a single SELDA nominee was appointed to the Human Rights Victims Claims Board, despite a provision in the law which says that SELDA is one of the human rights organizations recognized by the law that may submit its nominations to represent and help recognize victims of the Marcos dictatorship.

“This is not the real sentiments of martial law victims. This is BS Aquino’s Claims Board led by a general originating from the most dreaded human rights violators, the defunct Philippine Constabulary (PC), a forerunner of the Philippine National Police (PNP),” said Enriquez.

Other appointed members of the claims board are Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Byron Bocar, Aurora Parong, Galuasch Ballaho, Jacqueline Mejia, Glenda Litong, Wilfred Asis and Erlinda Senturias.

Enriquez called the appointment of Sarmiento as “overbearing arrogance of the Aquino government that is bound to marginalize the tens of thousands of rights violation victims right from the start.”

“Pres. BS Aquino made the victims wait too long for the appointment of the claims board only to fail them in the end.  Aquino II’s recent appointments only show how he considers Filipinos who fought for freedom and democracy, and on whose struggle his mother and himself were able to take the reins of government.  We vow even more to assert our call for justice.  We shall monitor and watch closely this claims board of Aquino,” said Enriquez.

A press conference will be held by SELDA on Saturday, February 15, in protest of the Aquino-formed claims board. The panel shall be what SELDA will call as the “People’s Claims Board,” that consists of Martial Law victims submitted for nomination to the Human Rights Victims Claims Board. ###

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

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