MANILA, Philippines – Martial law victims led by the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) challenged Malacañang to enact the Marcos Victims Compensation Bill into law in commemoration of the 40th year of the imposition of Martial Law.
Martial law victim Rody del Rosario said he was a victim of warrantless arrest during the Marcos regime and stayed in jail for 2 years.
He said that after 40 years, it is high time that the government recognizes the hardships suffered by victims of martial law.
ABS-CBN Umagang Kay Ganda, Sept. 21, 2012
SELDA invites you to its 26th founding anniversary
Pagpupugay sa 26 taong Pakikibaka ng mga Bayaning Lumaban sa Diktadurya ni Marcos:
Tuloy ang Laban!
June 11, 2012
Filipiniana Section, Main Library
UP-Diliman, Quezon City
5:00 – 8:00 PM
Marcos victims urge President-elect Noynoy to prioritize compensation of Martial Law victims in his order of business.
Today, the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya, the organization of former political prisoners, many of whom were tortured, urged President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to prioritize the enactment of the Compensation Bill for Victims of Martial Law, upon his assumption as the 15th President of the Republic.
“It has been 18 years since we won our case in the US Federal Court, but until now, not one of the decisions of the Court has been realized. President Noynoy knows very well the issue at hand as his family, like the rest of the hundreds of thousands of us, was also victimized by Marcos and his cohorts. I am certain that they are also seeking justice for the illegal detention, torture and assassination of their father, former Senator Ninoy Aquino, ” stated Romeo Luneta of SELDA.
Romeo Luneta and his 8 siblings were tortured and imprisoned during martial law. His sister Maxima, who was pregnant then, lost her child due to heavy torture. Her sister in law, a seamstress, together with her 3-year-old daughter (Mr. Luneta’s niece) were abducted and went missing since 1976; both were never found until this day.
In April of 1986, two months after the EDSA People Power I, SELDA filed a class-action suit against Ferdinand Marcos for crimes against humanity. In September 1992, the US Federal District Court of Hawaii decided in favor of the 9,539 Filipino victims and ordered the Marcoses to pay the victims $ 2 B for damages. In 1997, the Swiss Supreme Court ordered the transfer of the US$540 million Marcos ill-gotten Swiss deposits to an escrow account of the Philippine National Bank, in favor of the Philippine Government.
“The Swiss Supreme Court was clear in its order that the victims of Martial Law who filed charges against Marcos in the Hawaiian Court must be considered by the Philippine Government once the latter moves the escrow account. And to do this, an enabling law is necessary, but until now, no law has been passed by Congress even as the ill-gotten wealth, which the victims helped recover, has been supposedly funneled to the National Treasury for General Appropriations. The indemnification law is long overdue; the victims are dying and the Marcoses are once more occupying powerful positions again. Thus, it is high time for a Philippine President, and we urge President Noynoy Aquino, to do an affirmative action in favor of the victims,” added SELDA leader, Ka Trining Herrera.
“The indemnification of victims of human rights violations is part of rendering justice, justice not only for us direct victims but for the Filipino people terrorized by Marcos’ Martial Law. The absence of an indemnification law, and most especially, NO prosecution of the perpetrators, has made the violators and the succeeding regimes much bolder in violating the rights of the people, just like the outgoing regime of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Not passing the law continuously deny justice to the victims. VIOLATIONS AND IMPUNITY MUST END, JUSTICE TO THE VICTIMS NOW!,” concluded Ka Trining. ###
The Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA) challenges Bongbong Marcos and his family, especially its Matriarch, Imelda Marcos, to implement the April 5,2010 decision of the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals with regard to the Marcos’ 4,000-acres real estate property in Texas.
“We have no hope that the current administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will help the victims get their compensation because for the last 9 years, all it did was to prevent us victims from getting what is rightfully ours. With the recent decision of a US Court, we dare the Marcoses, who want to have a comeback in Philippine politics, to willingly execute the judgment, that is, if they truly want to serve the Filipino people. Show to us that you truly are against corruption by posing no objection to this recent court ruling,” stated Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA Secretary General.
The 4,000-acres real estate property is just one of the other properties and monies of the Marcoses which were identified by the victims’ lawyers to be the source of the indemnification of the victims amounting to US$2B, as of the 1992 US Federal Court of Hawaii decision in the Hilao et al vs Estate of Ferdinand Marcos class action suit. The other sources are the Swiss account of the Marcoses amounting to US$680 million, already transferred to the Philippine National Treasury in 2004; The Arelma account amounting to US$35 million, which the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is persistently claiming in the name of the government together with the account in Singapore–earlier awarded by the Swiss government for indemnification, and which is part of the $680 million Swiss account.
“The Singapore Court decision is not only a victory for the victims, it is also a victory for the Filipino people. It is high time that the victims be compensated, this compensation is not just about money, it is part of getting justice. For the past 24 years, our judicial system has failed to put behind bars perpetrators of human rights violations during the time of Marcos, Aquino, Ramos, Erap and now, of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, that is why impunity exists and persists in our society to this day,” added Hilao-Enriquez.
During Martial Law at least 120,000 Filipinos were put behind bars by the Marcos dictatorship. This led 9,939 of the victims and their families to file a class action suit for crimes against humanity against the Marcoses at the US Federal Court System in 1986, when Marcos fled to the US. The victims eventually won the suit in 1992 but not a single cent was received by ANY OF THE VICTIMS UP TO NOW. The governments that replaced Marcos did not do anything to give justice to the victims of martial law; in fact, the GMA government was the beneficiary of the victims’ move to file a suit against the Marcos family. Were it not for the suit filed by the victims, the Swiss Supreme Court would not have ruled and ordered the transfer of the $680 million ill-gotten Swiss deposits to the Philippine government in 1997. The money was eventually transferred to the Philippine National Treasury in 2004 and according to the Senate investigations, part of the amount went to the fertilizer fund scam authored by Jocjoc Bolante for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“SELDA strongly believes that Bong-bong’s desire to win is definitely not to help the Filipino people but for his and his family’s preservation and ensuring at the very least that a compensation Bill for martial law victims will not be passed by Congress. To prove us wrong, Bog-bong has to make a giant leap by, in the name of his family, making a public apology for the crimes committed under his father’s reign and the long overdue execution of the decision of the District Court of Honolulu to indemnify the martial law victims for damages. STOP MARCOS, JUSTICE NOW!!!” ###