“The Aquino government chose to commemorate the 28th year of People Power 1 and the fall of the Marcos dictatorship by consigning a general who was part of the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP) to head Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay. “The appointment of Gen. Lina Sarmiento is a subtle way to rewriting history. It obliterates the distinction between perpetrators and victims of human rights violations during martial law,”Palabay added.
Karapatan scored Sarmiento and other Aquino apologists who try to focus on the monetary compensation for the victims of martial law. The task of the Claims Board is not simply “to receive, assess, evaluate, investigate and process applications for compensation of victims of human rights violations” as Sarmiento put it.
“The heart of the matter is justice,” Palabay said. “The Claims board is a mechanism designed by a law that aims, first and foremost, to render justice to martial law victims.”
The law, in fact, specifically states its intent to “recognize the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos.”
“Thus, the membership of the Claims Board should reflect the spirit of justice,” said Palabay. “Viewed from different angles, the appointment of Sarmiento is unjustifiable. At best it is ludicrous; at worst, it shows how perverted this government views history.”]
Republic Act 10368 states that members of the Claims Board must be of known probity, competence and integrity; must have a deep and thorough understanding of knowledge of human rights and involvement in efforts against human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos; and must have a clear and adequate understanding and commitment to human rights protection, promotion, and advocacy.
Karapatan joins the demand to recall the appointment of Gen. Lina Sarmiento and supports the formation of a People’s Claims Board. The People’s Claims Board is composed of known anti-dictatorship activists and human rights advocates, mostly victims of martial law themselves: Makabayan President Satur Ocampo, SELDA chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA vice-chairperson Bonifacio Ilagan, former Gabriela Women’s Party representative Liza Maza, UP Professor Judy Taguiwalo, Dr. Edelina de la Paz, Atty. Kit Enriquez, and Atty. Dominador Lagare, Sr. ###
Dennis Carcamo | Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Rights group Selda on Thursday announced it has submitted a list of nominees to the Human Rights Victims Claims Board that will evaluate and process the application for claims of the Martial Law victims.
Selda secretary general Angie Ipong said they sent its list of nominees to the Office of the President last March 12.
Selda came up with the list after President Benigno Aquino III signed into law the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act.
“We are very honored and proud that our nominees possess the qualifications of the members of the Claims Board spelled out in the law,” Ipong said.
Based on the criteria set by the law, the nominees must be of known probity, competence and integrity; must have a deep and thorough understanding and knowledge of human rights and involvement in efforts against human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos; and must have a clear and adequate understanding and commitment to human rights protection, promotion and advocacy.
Among the nominees include rights group Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Bonifacio Ilagan, former Gabriela partylist Rep. Liza Maza, Prof. Judy Taguiwalo, Dr. Edelina De la Paz, lawyers Romeo Candazo, Kit Enriquez, and Dominador Lagare Sr.
“With such sterling names and achievements of our nominees, we are confident that they possess the qualifications required by law and if appointed, the personalities we are submitting for nomintations will do honor and work for the interests of the victims of martial law and see to it that this law will redound to the vicitms’ benefits,” Ipong added.
Selda is the the organization that initiated the class action suit against the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.