SELDA’s National Coordinator Jigs Clamor speaks on PCGG’s plan to exhibit Imelda Marcos jewelry collection.
For the past week, the rains due to the monsoon after typhoon Gener left the country have been persistent and have caused flooding in different parts of Luzon, especially in Metro Manila. At present, as the rains pour, many have been stranded in their houses while thousands are being relocated to various evacuation centers in their cities and municipalities. As of 3:45pm today, 60 individuals have been reportedly killed due to the non-stop rains, flooding and landslides caused by incessant rains. According to news reports, the rains have affected some 199,485 families (or about one million individuals based on an average of 5 per family) across 11 regions in the country.
We in KARAPATAN, SELDA, Desaparecidos, Tanggol Bayi, Hustisya and EMJP are appealing to all concerned citizens in the Philippines and abroad for relief goods (food, clothes, blankets, medicines) and cash support for needed relief for our brethren, most especially the women and children, affected by rains and floods in Sampaloc, Manila; Tatalon, Quezon City; Dagat-dagatan, Caloocan; and many other affected areas in the National Capital Region, Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon.
You can drop off your donations to Karapatan National Office, Erythrina Building, #Maaralin cor. Matatag Streets, Central District, Quezon City. Please contact anyone of the following – Tinay Palabay (0917-5003879), Lui Tumlos (0917-8299202), or Girlie Padilla (0908-8941870).
For cash or check contributions, please inform us so we can send the details to facilitate the donations.
Thank you very much and our best regards.
Marie Hilao Enriquez Chairperson
1 December 2010
DAVAO CITY – Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) – Southern Mindanao Region urged today the Aquino administration to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners.
In a press conference, SELDA’s regional secretary-general Fe Salino said, “We dare P-Noy to be true to his campaign slogan of forging the so-called “daang matuwid” by releasing the 369 political prisoners in the country. These are men and women activists, fighters, and ordinary advocates who are currently detained, incarcerated for their political beliefs and languishing like ordinary criminals in different congested jails all over the country.”
Among the 369 are the 43 detained health workers who were illegally arrested in Morong, Rizal, 58 women detainees, and 11 of whom are consultants of the National Democratic Front (NDF).
Under the Aquino administration, 12 civilians, mostly leaders of progressive organizations were illegally arrested recently.
“Here in southern Mindanao, we have 23 political prisoners including Zaldy Caňete, a rebel leader who continues to languish in jail even if he has a very poor health condition,” Salino added.
“Canete’s health continues to deteriorate due to deprivation of appropriate medical treatment and congested prison facility in Compostela Valley Provincial Jail,” she said.
“While the Aquino administration could quickly grant amnesty to the Magdalo soldiers, we have several detainees who languish in jail. Most of them are elderly and suffering from poor health conditions like Angie Ipong, the 65-year-old NDFP consultant who was illegally arrested, tortured and detained in Misamis Occidental,” Salino lamented.
“And we note, too, the continued detention of Morong 43, two of them are mothers who recently gave birth under detention. What kind of “daang matuwid” would deprive women and their children with appropriate treatment? They should be released immediately,” she said.
“In solidarity with the political prisoners and their respective families, we are urging the Aquino government to follow the legacy of her mother, then president Cory Aquino who unconditionally released all the political prisoners two months after she was catapulted to power through Edsa 1,” Salino added.
“What is taking PNoy so long to grant our legitimate demand?” she asked.
Salino also expressed alarm on the increasing number of activists and human rights defenders who are extra-judicially killed, abducted, illegally arrested, detained, tortured and harassed under under Aquino administration.
“It seems like Aquino government failed to curb the culture of impunity because the perpetrators–former President Arroyo, retired-Major General and known “berdugo” Jovito Palparan and their fascist cohorts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines–remain scot-free,” she said.
Together with the political prisoners, their families, and fellow human rights groups, SELDA will conduct a solidarity protest in Compostela Valley Provincial Rehabilitation Center, Tagum City on December 3 (Friday).
Led by SELDA-National, the group will register their legitimate demand and campaign to free the political prisoners and to junk all fabricated charges against human rights defenders.
The activity is part of the nationwide commemoration of the 7th International Day of Solidarity for Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War. In 2003, the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) declared December 3 as a day to express solidarity with the political prisoners and prisoners of war and their families.#
Contact No. 09215308597
Nov7:CLASS MEMBERS, ORIGINAL PLAINTIFFS IN CASE VS MARCOS TO COUNSEL SWIFT: CONSULT US ON THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
NEWS RELEASE – 7 November 2010
The daughter of one of the original named plaintiffs in the historic class suit versus former President Ferdinand Marcos and class members among the 9,539 plaintiffs in the said class suit today raised questions on the proposed settlement agreement negotiated by counsel Robert Swift on the Marcos ill-gotten wealth which are in the name of Jose Y. Campos or the corporations owned or controlled by Campos.
Marie Hilao-Enriquez, whose parents are lead plaintiffs in the class suit and is the current chairperson of the Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) as well as the human rights alliance KARAPATAN, said class members were able to know of the said settlement agreement only during the last week of September this year upon receiving the class notices.
SELDA, an organization of former political prisoners since Martial Law and established in 1984, led the Marcos victims in filing the class action suit against former Pres. Marcos for crimes against humanity in April 1986, two months after the EDSA People Power I. 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 almost $2B for damages. In 1997, the Swiss Supreme Court ordered the transfer of the then US$540 million Marcos ill-gotten Swiss deposits to an escrow account of the Philippine National Bank, in favor of the Philippine Government.
“As in the previous agreements which our class counsel tried to enter into, we have requested for Atty. Swift to consult the named plaintiffs and class members on this recent settlement agreement, yet he refuses to do so. In the interest of transparency and in accordance with his duty, he should duly consult the class members on the contents and issues of the settlement,” Hilao-Enriquez said. She is among the four Hilao siblings who were arrested, tortured and detained during Martial Law, while one of them, Liliosa, was raped and murdered.
“While we welcome his efforts to supposedly collect money for the compensation of Marcos’ victims during martial law, we would like to remind Atty. Swift to always consult the victims every step of the way of such agreements,” Hilao-Enriquez said. “In order for class members to make informed and intelligent decisions, they must not be kept in the dark about the details of such negotiations so that it is not only left to the counsel to make unilateral decisions as such would have ramifications to a large number of class members,” Hilao-Enriquez added.
In the class notice sent to and received by some class members, it was stated that “Not all Class Members are eligible to receive payment. The Hawaii Federal Court required Class Members in both 1993 and 1999 to submit Claim Forms. Only those Class Members who submitted complete Claim Forms in each of those years will be eligible to receive payment. It is too late to submit or supplement a Claim Form.” Such decisions must be explained to the class members especially on the question of who were delisted and the reasons for such.”
“We would also like to know how the alleged true value of the real estate properties of the Camposes was determined in this new agreement and was valued at US$78 million. With this, is it not in the interest of the class members to proceed with the litigation instead of the $10 million settlement? It is important to know if class members have thoroughly studied the agreement, with all our questions answered and if we are amenable to the said settlement. This is not just about money, it is one of the ways of realizing justice as victims of human rights violations under the Marcos dictatorship,” Hilao-Enriquez pursued.
SELDA reiterated its call for Atty. Swift to conduct a consultation with the plaintiffs and class members and answer the questions posed before him. ###
Sept16: FORMER POLITICAL PRISONERS WELCOME INTL RIGHTS LAWYERS’ SUPPORT FOR MORONG 43 AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS, SET TO JOIN NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AND SYMPATHY FAST
September 16, 2010
The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) today welcomed the concern and support extended by members of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers to the plight of the 43 health workers who were illegally arrested and are still under detention, as they met yesterday with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to press for the their immediate release.
Fr. Dionito Cabillas, Secretary General of SELDA, said the delegation of eight lawyers from various parts of the globe led by IADL President Jeanne Mirer expressed their concern for the immediate review of the case.
“We hope that Sec. de Lima’s review on the case of the Morong 43 will start very soon, as every day in detention is another day of injustice for the detained health workers. We urge the Justice Secretary to likewise review the cases of the 388 political prisoners who remain in jails and detention centers nationwide,” Cabillas stated.
SELDA, together with Karapatan and the Free the 43 Health Workers Alliance, is set to conduct the National Day of Action and Sympathy Fast tomorrow to call for the immediate release of the Morong 43 and all political prisoners.
Martial Law activists and SELDA board members led by Marie Enriquez (Chairperson), stage and film director Boni Ilagan (Vice Chairperson), former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, and woman leader Trinidad Herrera will join tomorrow’s activities. Political prisoners in detention facilities in Cordillera, National Capital Region, Cebu, Bohol, Negros, Leyte, Misamis Oriental, and Compostela Valley will join the sympathy fast.
Sept14:SELDA SLAMS ABDUCTION OF FORMER POLITICAL PRISONERS’ SON IN CEBU, CALLS ON PNOY TO WITHDRAW OPLAN BANTAY LAYA
September 14, 2010
Fr. Dionito Cabillas, National Secretary General of the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), today decried the recent abduction and torture of Elke Bacalso, son of former SELDA-Cebu coordinator and political prisoner Julian Bacalso, as an act perpetuated due to the continuing implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya, a counter-insurgency program of the Arroyo government which is continuously enforced by the government of Pres. Benigno Aquino III.
According to reports from Karapatan-Cebu, Elke Bacalso, a 20-year old student of Bachelor of Arts in Education in Cebu Institute of Technology, was abducted by two men last September 8, 2010 at around 4:30pm near the CIT campus in Cebu City. Previously, last September 3, 2010, two armed men approached and dragged him to a waiting gray van near the CIT campus, then threatened him by saying “Kahibalo baya ko asa magpulong-pulong ang mga anak sa komunista. Di ba anak mo og komunista?” (I know where the children of communists hold their meetings. You (plural) are children of communists, right?”). Elke managed to free himself then and ran back inside the campus.
After Elke failed to go home the night of September 8, his family and members of Karapatan-Cebu reported the incident to the Philippine National Police offices. A very distraught Elke was later found at the Sta. Rosa de Lima Parish Church, municipality of Alcoy in Cebu on September 10. He later recounted that he was blindfolded the whole duration of his captivity as he was interrogated on his alleged illegal activities and the whereabouts of his father. Everytime his interrogators were displeased of his answers, he was hit with what he felt to be a stick on his left arm and he has a big bruise to show for it. He also reported that as they were travelling, he was transferred to three different vehicles and was brought to a safehouse where he heard the voices to the two men who attempted to abduct him on 3 September.
SELDA also said this characteristic pattern of abduction and torture has been the trademark pattern of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under the Oplan Bantay Laya. Under the pretext of counter-insurgency under the Arroyo government, there were 2,425 victims of arbitrary arrests, 1,092 of them were tortured. Among the victims are the illegally detained and tortured Morong 43, the group of doctors and community health workers who were illegally arrested last February.
“As long as counter-insurgency programs like Oplan Bantay Laya are being implemented, extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests and torture by state agents are bound to continue. We condemn the continuing spate of human rights violations. We call on Pres. Aquino to immediately withdraw the Oplan Bantay Laya, to punish the perpetrators and to render justice for all victims of human rights violations,” Cabillas stated.
September 9,2010: SELDA CONDEMNS TRUMPED UP CHARGES AGAINST PROGRESSIVE PARTYLISTS AND ORGANIZATIONS
Fr. Dionito Cabillas, National Secretariat of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Para sa Amnestiya (SELDA), today decried the latest spate of cases filed by the military and police against at least four leaders of progressive partylists and organizations in the Bicol Region as “fabrications of militarist minds” meant to intensify the harassment against the organizations in the region.
Charges of multiple murder, frustrated murder, multiple carnapping and malicious mischief were filed against Felix Paz, chairman of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Bikol (KMP-Bikol), Leo Caballero, spokesperson of Derechos Obrero, Jariz Vida, secretary general of BAYAN-Muna-Camarines Sur and Joe Pernia, chairman of BAYAN Muna-Bicol, among others.
“As long as Oplan Bantay , the counter-insurgency plan of the Arroyo government, is the same blueprint adopted by the Aquino administration, trumped up charges and criminalization of so-called political offenses are bound to continue. Oplan Bantay Laya has resulted to the illegal arrests, torture and detention of more than 300 political prisoners under the Arroyo regime, including the Morong 43,” Cabillas stated.
Cabillas expressed the support of their organization for the recent hunger strike conducted by eight political prisoners in Bohol and two political prisoners in Danao City, Cebu calling on Pres. Aquino for the immediate release of the Morong 43 and all political prisoners as well as the immediate scrapping of the Oplan Bantay Laya.
“Oplan Bantay Laya should be immediately scrapped. We do not need statements paying lip-service to human rights while activists, partylist leaders and leaders from the marginalized communities,” Cabillas ended.
August 19,2010: SELDA CONDEMNS TRANSFER OF NEWBORN AND DETAINED MOTHER TO JAIL; CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF MOTHER AND CHILD
The Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Para sa Amnestiya (SELDA), an organization of former and current political prisoners, today slammed the recent transfer of Carina “Judilyn” Oliveros, one of the political prisoners collectively known as the Morong 43, and her 3-weeks old baby from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to the Women’s Sector Metro Manila District Jail – SICA Compound facility in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.
“We strongly protest the transfer of Oliveros and baby because conditions in the detention facility are not all good for both baby and nursing mother. We appeal to the Pres. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino for their immediate release on recognizance for humanitarian reasons,” Fr. Dionito Cabillas, SELDA National Secretariat, said.
Cabillas said mother and child are currently detained at a cell inside the MMDJ-SICA Compound, where it is crowded and damp. Oliveros and baby are highly susceptible to diseases borne out of such jail conditions, he added.
Oliveros and her child were transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa yesterday upon the issuance of a court order by Judge Gina Cenit-Escoto of Branch 78, Regional Trial Court in Morong Rizal after denying Oliveros’ Motion for Release on Recognizance for humanitarian reasons, citing the non-existence of basis that the release may be granted. The order was granted despite the withdrawal of the initial objection of state prosecutors for the said motion to release.
“This manifests the graver injustices experienced by Oliveros and child, as well as the rest of the Morong 43, who are victims of illegal arrests, torture and detention. Justice remains elusive for the doctors and community based health workers, even pregnant and nursing mothers like Oliveros. Such is the deplorable state of the more than 400 political prisoners in the country, many of them were illegally arrested and imprisoned under the Macapagal-Arroyo administration,” Cabillas further said.
SELDA also expressed support for the noise barrage conducted by the Morong 43 today in Camp Bagong Diwa in protest of the transfer and continued detention of Oliveros and baby.