Include all 9,539 Hawaii class suit members
SELDA hits delisting of martial law victims anew
SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) reiterated its demand to reinstate the 2,013 names of delisted Martial Law victims who should receive reparation in any of the settlement agreements.
The 2,013 delisted names are part of 9,539 victims recognized by the Hawaii court who filed a class suit against former president Ferdinand Marcos in the Federal Court of Honolulu in Hawaii in 1986.
According to Marie-Hilao Enriquez, the Hawaii court shouldn’t have wantonly delisted members of the class suit based merely on the reason that they failed to reply to letters sent by the Hawaii court asking for verification of their identity.
“Delisting the victims who were part of those who went after the Marcoses is a grave injustice. They were arbitrarily dropped from the list without notice and without due process, denying them of their right to reparation. We reiterate our demand to Judge Real to revert to the old list of Martial Law victims,” said Enriquez.
In October last year, SELDA filed an opposition on the delisting of members at the Hawaii court, stating that there has been an executory judgment by the U.S. Court of Appeals dated December 17, 1996 that the number of victims who were qualified reparation remain at 9,539.
“This only means that the victims shouldn’t be given more burden to write to the Hawaii courts, or confirm their identities because they have already been recognized as legitimate class suit members and victims,” said Enriquez.
The filed opposition also said that class suit members come from different parts of the archipelago, and many of them are ordinary farmers and workers who may not have the financial means and resources to immediately respond to the said reply required by the court. Many more belong to the informal settlers – the urban poor people who might have been moved from their original residences due to forced evictions and demolitions of their abodes.
“We shouldn’t aggravate their burden anymore, as justice has been so elusive from them. Until now, they are still demanding for the actual implementation of the law recognizing Martial Law victims,” said Enriquez.
SELDA hit the continuous non-implementation of the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act. It has been almost a year since Pres. Aquino signed the law, but until now, no claims board has been formed. The claims board is the body responsible for the process of recognition and reparation of the 9,539 victims and others who were not part of the Hawaii class suit. ###
Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA chairperson, 0917-5616800
23 July 2013
We at SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) condemn the Philippine National Police for seriously hurting one of
our leaders and other protesters in the rally that coincided with Pres. Aquino’s 4th State of the Nation Address yesterday. It is reprehensible that those fought the Marcos dictatorship and who paved the way to where Aquino is right now, suffer the same police terror not unlike the martial law days.
77-year old Rodolfo “Ka Rody” del Rosario, former political prisoner during martial law and vice-chairperson of the SELDA NCR chapter, suffered from head injuries after police hit him with a nightstick. He was at the frontlines of the People’s SONA ng Bayan that asserted, in a clear exercise of their right to assemble and to protest, to get near Batasang Pambansa where Aquino’s SONA was held.
SELDA members, imprisoned and tortured during Martial Law, attended the SONA rally to emphasize that no justice has been served for the
victims of human rights violations. This is now Aquino’s 4th SONA, and after countless letters, lobbying efforts and rallies, the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act signed last February 25 remains ineffective and stagnant. Martial Law victims have yet to be recognized.
We demanded justice not only for us victims of human rights violations. We demanded justice for the greater majority of the Filipino people who continue to struggle for their most basic human rights. Yet, Aquino’s “inclusive growth” only pushed further the rights of the people to food, shelter, healthcare, education, land and livelihood to the sidelines.
The People’s SONA yesterday was a testament of the people’s right to express their discontent because their basic rights are violated.
Only the few rich and powerful , who bleed the people dry, enjoy the so-called growth. These are the same group of elites who are favored by the Aquino government’s policies, at the expense of the people who bear the burden of high prices, privatization of services, meager wages, forced eviction, landlessness and the overall crisis passed on to us by Aquino’s imperialist masters.
We protest the denial of a permit to rally, the use of concertina wires, the blocking of the roads with container vans and fire trucks; the truncheon-bearing police who mercilessly hit the protesters, the illegal and arbitrary arrests and detention and the wounding of rallyists—literally the same scene and horror during the times of the dictatorship.
We demand that the PNP be made accountable for the violence that ensued in yesterday’s rally. We also demand justice and accountability for the illegal arrests and detention made by the police.
We deplore the statements made by the Commission on Human Rights, which instead of ensuring that the police do not use force against the activists, irresponsibly maligned the protesters by saying it is the protesters’ fault that the police used violence against them.
By our collective action, we were able to topple down a dictator. We were able to assert our democratic rights as a people. Amid the dire conditions of the Filipino people, we shall continue to march the streets and tell the real state of the nation and fight for justice for the marginalized and oppressed Filipino people. ###
Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA chairperson 0917-5616800
Kilos protesta kasabay ng SONA 2013, nauwi sa girian
State of the Nation with Jessica Soho | GMA News TV
Saying the victims of martial law abuses have waited long enough, human rights groups are urging Malacañang to form immediately the panel that would process their claims for compensation.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said Sunday there was no reason for the administration to delay the appointments to the nine-member Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board.
Colmenares, one of the authors of the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act, said the government did not have to wait for any implementing rules or regulations to be formulated before naming the board members.
The board will draft the implementing rules for the compensation process, which is why its completion is crucial for the law to take full effect, Colmenares explained.
President Aquino signed the compensation measure into law on Feb. 25, the 27th anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution that led to the ouster of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The law was intended to recognize the struggles of the people who fought the dictatorship and provide them remunerations for their sufferings. The money would come from a P10-billion fund out of the ill-gotten wealth recovered from Marcos.
“Until the board has been completed, the application period [for the victims’ compensation] could not begin,” Colmenares said in a phone interview.
He noted that every year, many victims of abuses during the Marcos dictatorship had been dying. Further delaying the process would deny them the chance to receive the compensation themselves, although their heirs could apply on their behalf.
Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at sa Aresto (Selda), which earlier lamented the non-implementation of the measure, said that in the two and a half months after the measure was signed, some of the victims had died due to illnesses without seeing the law take effect.
“Martial law victims cannot afford to be disenfranchised, much more neglected again. The law was a victory for the victims. We cannot allow our efforts to go down the drain,” Selda national coordinator Roneo Clamor said in a statement.
Selda earlier also submitted nominees to the board. Its nominees included martial law victims who were involved in the filing of the class suit—around 9,000—gainst the Marcoses and in pursuing the enactment of the law to compensate the victims, as well as members of human rights organizations.
Selda is one of the organizations that may submit nominations to the President.
“I don’t know why after we’ve all fought for it, the appointment of the board has not yet been done. Selda is correct to press that matter,” Colmenares said.
He also conceded that the Aquino administration must name to the board people with sufficient knowledge and background on human rights issues and should not make any appointments for political accommodation.
The law itself states the requirements for the board members: persons of known probity, competence and integrity; must have a deep and thorough understanding and knowledge of human rights and involvement in efforts against abuses during the Marcos regime; and must have a clear and adequate understanding and commitment to human rights protection, promotion and advocacy.
At least three board members must be lawyers who have been practicing for at least 10 years.
Once all the appointments are complete, the board would have 30 days to organize itself. Within 15 days from the date of its organization, it must promulgate the rules and regulations for the implementation of the law.
The rules would take effect 15 days after its publication in two national newspapers of general circulation. The martial law victims have six months from the effectivity of the rules to file applications for reparation.
The claims board has two years to complete its work of determining the amount of compensation for each victim.
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.
Lira Dalangin-Fernandez | InterAksyon.com
February 25, 2013
MANILA, Philippines — Hailing the signing into law of the compensation act for human rights victims during the Martial Law years, victims and lawmakers on Monday said that people should remain vigilant so it would never happen again.
Simultaneous with the 27th anniversary of EDSA People Power revolution, President Benigno Aquino III signed into law the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act as Republic Act 10368, ending the 40-year wait of the victims for recognition and compensation.
“This is a victorious day for those who have awaited and fought for the state’s recognition of their suffering under Martial Law. Many years after the Hawaii court recognized us, now it’s our own government who did the same,” Bayan Muna party-list Representative Neri Colmenares said in a statement.
Colmenares, tortured and imprisoned for four years during the Marcos dictatorsip, said “the overall message of this recognition is that Martial Law must never happen.”
In a separate statement, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said the newly-signed law completes the “trilogy of legislative human rights measures” that he principally authored.
Both Lagman and Colmenares are principal authors of the new law.
Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tanada III, another principal author of the measure, said not one of the victims thought of being compensated at the time they were fighting dictatorship from 1972 until February 1986, adding that it was “purely an act of patriotism.”
He added: “Now that the victims are being recognized for their sufferings, it is time to declare never again to Martial Law. If we have ‘tuwid na daan’ under PNoy (Aquino), we should also have ‘tuwid na kasaysayan’ in order to prevent a wrong presentation of history,” Tanada said.
Lagman earlier authored the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 or Republic Act 9745 and the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012 or Republic Act 10353.
The first compensation act was filed by Lagman as House Bill 2426 during the first regular session of the 10th Congress in August 1995 or almost 18 years ago.
SELDA: victory for victims
The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), which led the filing of the historic class suit by the martial law victims against Ferdinand E. Marcos in a Hawaii court, said the signing of the law was a victory for the victims.
“Through their relentless efforts, finally and officially recognized are the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who fought the dictatorship and were victims of human rights violations – summary execution, torture, enforced disappearances and all other gross forms of violations. They faced adversity, but took the courage to stand up and defend, not only theirs, but the people’s rights,” the group said in a statement.
The law gives reparation and recognition to countless victims of human rights violations during the martial law regime from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986. Violations covered are summary executions, enforced disappearances, deadly torture and other atrocious violations of human rights and civil liberties.
The claimants and direct plaintiffs in the US Federal District Court of Honolulu, Hawaii who secured a decision in their favor against the estate of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, and the martyrs and victims recognized by the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation are conclusively presumed as human-rights violations victims.
Other victims who will be filing their claims for the first time are required to submit their claims together with detailed sworn affidavits narrating the circumstances of the violations within six months from the effectivity of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Act.
A fund of P10 billion, plus accrued interests, is appropriated for the claimants’ reparation which is part of the amount transferred by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to the Philippine Government and which the Philippine Supreme Court forfeited in favor of the Republic of the Philippines as Marcos’s ill-gotten wealth.
Some P500 million, which is part of the accrued interest, will finance the establishment of a museum, library and repository of memorabilia for the victims.
A Human Rights Violations Victims Claims Board (HRVVCB) will be set up to validate the amounts to be granted to the claimants in accordance with the severity of the injuries and damage they have sustained, based on a points system.
The law also mandates the teaching, from the elementary to the tertiary levels, of martial law with its attendant atrocities as well as the life stories and heroism of human rights violation victims.
Martial Law victims gather a day after signing of Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act