Posts tagged “Senate

Update: 3rd Bicameral hearing on Marcos victims’ compensation bill

Ngayong hapon, Enero 23, inaprubahan ng bicameral conference committee ang final version ng Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013. Ito ang produkto ng pinagsanib na bersyon ng Marcos victims indemnification bill na naunang isinulong ng SELDA katuwang ang mga progresibong partylist sa pangunguna ng awtor na isang kapwa Martial Law victim, si Rep. Neri Colmenares.

Sa pinal na bersyon, kinikilala na ang mga biktima ng Martial Law ay kinikilala bilang mga tunay na biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao. Kasama dito ang mga 9,539 biktima na nagsampa ng class suit laban sa mga Marcos sa Hawaii noong 1986. Pasok ang probisyong “conclusive presumption” na kumikilala sa mga biktima.

Sa Lunes ay iraratipika na ang panukalang batas. Ibig sabihin, matapos pirmahan ng bicameral committee, ito ay itutulak na para mapirmahan ni Aquino. 

Bagamat tiyak na mahaba pa ang labang ito, isang tagumpay ang pagkilala sa mga biktima ng Martial Law hindi lang para sa kanila kundi sa mamamayang Pilipino. Kailangang tiyaking malubos ang tagumpay na ito. Magagawa natin ito sa ating patuloy na sama-samang pagkilos.

Sa lahat ng mga kasapi ng SELDA, mga biktima at kaanak na kumilos sa Senado kanina, mabuhay kayo! Hustisya sa lahat ng mga biktima ng Martial Law! Hustisya sa lahat ng biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao!


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3rd bicam hearing on Marcos victims compensation

ADVISORY - SELDA INDEM


Martial Law victims to bicam: No more delays, enact “pro-victim” bill now!

SAM_0364
 
News Release
January 16, 2013

Martial Law victims held a rally outside Batasang Pambansa on Wednesday while the bicameral conference committee “harmonized”  the Lower House and Senate versions of the bill to indemnify victims of martial law to craft the final version into a law.

“We are here to press our senators and congressmen to stand by the bill most acceptable and reflect the interests of the majority of the victims of Martial Law,” said Marie Hilao Enriquez, whose group, SELDA,  initiated the filing of the historic class action suit against the Marcoses in the US Federal Court System in 1986 and won a favorable ruling in 1992.

SELDA stressed that members of the BiCam must consider the voices and interests of the victims embodied in the four points the organization asked to be included in the final version of the law.  The first BiCam meeting resulted into debates which the victims felt  were only moves to delay the passage of the bill,  just before the 2013 elections.

“We reiterate that victims who filed a class action suit against Marcos in Hawaii must be conclusively presumed as legitimate human rights violation victims and must be acknowledged as such so that they will not be made to once more prove their legitimacy as human rights violations victims during martial law, just like the “new claimants” who will be filing claims for the first time under Philippine law Instead of instantly casting doubts on the victims, the law should prioritize that victims need recognition and reparation or indemnification as components of justice that victims long deserved,” Enriquez said.

The group has earlier expressed disappointment on Sen. Joker Arroyo’s insistence  of a provision on disputable presumption of the martial law victims who filed and won a case vs. Marcos in Hawaii . Enriquez explained, “it is not only painful, but far more dangerous, for the victims to undergo and endure the painful and rigorous process again to prove they were indeed violated during Martial Law.”

SELDA also said that only considering as human rights violations victims during martial law those who “peacefully exercised their rights against the dictatorship” is clearly excluding those who resisted the violations during the white terror years and sends a very dangerous signal to the perpetrators  of human rights violations that theperpetrators can do what they like to people considered as not “peacefully” exercising their civil and political rights.  This provision also opens up a problem of who will and how will the “peaceful” exercise be determined.  Further, even the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which the Philippine government subscribes to, does not specify how the rights will be exercised.

“Why should this be an issue when the rights to take up arms in a time of tyrannical  rule are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Pushing for such a provision in a law meant to render a component of justice to martial law victims will deny such Martial Law heroes and martyrs as Emman Lacaba, Edgar Jopson, Lorena Barros, and a hundred more who have been recognized as worthy of emulation by Bantayog ng mga Bayani and most importantly, in our nation’s history,” she said. ###

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


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Rights group hits pro-Marcos views of Arroyo, Akbayan at the bicam of Marcos victims’ bill

Press Statement
January 15, 2013

As Karapatan calls on Noynoy, Congress to pass Marcos victims bill before elections

Rights group hits pro-Marcos views of Arroyo, Akbayan at the bicam of Marcos victims’ bill

Karapatan today called on Pres. Noynoy Aquino and Congress “to pass the version of the Marcos victims compensation bill that is acceptable and judicious for the victims of human rights violations during Martial Law and their relatives.“

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said Aquino and both houses of Congress should not delay the immediate passage of the acceptable version of the law, have it passed and signed into law before it gets frustrated again with the frenzy for the upcoming election period. “Since the landmark judgment in Hawaii on the class suit against Marcos, several sessions of Congress have been remiss in rendering justice and indemnification for Marcos victims through the appropriate legislative measure. Aquino should certify this as an urgent measure,” she commented.

The House of Representatives and Senate have formed a bicameral conference committee to deliberate on versions of the bill from both houses.

Palabay noted that there were “snags” encountered during the debates of the bicameral conference committee, citing the positions of Sen. Joker Arroyo and Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello which the group deems as “pro-Marcos” views, as the points of debates they inject in the bicameral meetings go against the principle of the proposed law, which is to render justice and indemnification to Martial Law victims.

“Both lawmakers denigrate the persevering efforts of the victims when they disregard the judgment of the US court in the landmark class suit against the Marcos. By asserting that there should be ‘disputable presumption’ for all victims, they are providing the Marcoses with another malicious legal tactic to contest the judgment in Hawaii, which found former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos guilty of rights abuses during Martial Law. This proposal is clearly in favor of the Marcoses,” Palabay explained.

Palabay said Karapatan and the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), a group of former political prisoners which led the filing of the class suit in Hawaii, insist that “conclusive presumption” should be given to the 9,539 victims who filed and won the class suit in Hawaii to give due and appropriate recognition for the ‘guilty’ judgment on Marcos.

Karapatan also said the two legislators should be reminded of the principle enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN UDHR) that recognizes that right of peoples, who are confronting tyrannical and oppressive regimes, to take up arms against these kinds of governments, such as the Marcos regime.

“By proposing to exclude as ‘victims’ those who took up arms and also suffered rights violations during Martial Law, Arroyo and Bello are promoting principles that undermine the struggles of the Filipino people during Martial Law and, in effect, are undermining the universally recognized right of peoples to oppose tyrannical regimes, in whatever form they deem necessary,” Palabay concluded.

Reference:    Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
              Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580

 


Let the voices of the victims be heard in the compensation bill that will be enacted into law

News Release
December 26, 2012

Bicameral committee meeting set in 2013

Let the voices of the victims be heard in the compensation bill that will be enacted into law

The Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto or SELDA today reminded and strongly urged the members of the legislative body to allow the voices of the victims to be heard and formally be worded in the planned harmonized version of the law that will be crafted by members of the Senate and House of Representatives bicameral committee for the compensation of victims of human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship.

SELDA, the human rights organization that spearheaded the filing of a class suit against Marcos in Hawaii in 1986, welcomed the passage of the bill on third reading in the Senate on December 17, 2012 as members of the organization have repeatedly conducted several lobby activities in the Upper House for its action.  The Lower House has passed its version on March 21, 2012 yet.

“Our efforts have brought us to this juncture where the Marcos Victims’ Compensation Bill is on the threshold of being enacted into a law,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA Chairperson.  “However, we still have to continue to lobby for the law to reflect the victims’ voices.”

In a position paper submitted to legislators last year, SELDA members are pushing for the following provisions to be included in the proposed law:

  • Recognition of the original 9,539 victims and class suit plaintiffs, as well as 24 other individual plaintiffs (21 Filipino US-based expats who filed a case for human rights violations against Marcos in 1986; and  a group of 3 Filipinos, who include Prof. Jose Ma. Sison and his mother, representing his disappeared brother, Francisco, and who filed a similar cases in Hawaii against Marcos on the same year; the cases of the 21 and the 3 were consolidated with the class suit to be called Multi District Litigation 840 or MDL 840) , all of whom filed a case against former President Marcos in the U.S. in 1986 and won after the U.S. Federal Court  and the Swiss Federal Supreme Court issued their rulings on September 22, 1992 and December 10, 1997 respectively, and who have already been validated by the Hawaiian Court as legitimate human rights violations victims during the time of the dictatorship.
  • Inclusion of the victims of enforced disappearance among those who should be considered for the determination of award under Section 16 of Senate Bill 3334.
  • Inclusion of SELDA as one of the members of the commission/committee that will be created and tasked to implement the enacted law.  SELDA pushes for inclusion in the group that will be responsible to identify the victim/claimant.
  • And finally, to remove the section that requires “for a human rights violation to be compensable, the killing, torture or infliction of physical injuries must be committed against a Filipino citizen peacefully exercising civil or political rights.” This will create a difficulty among those who will decide who should be considered as victims who “peacefully” exercised their rights as against those who did not. Anybody can be summarily excluded after having been accused of getting involved in a “non-peaceful” means of exercising his/her civil or political rights.

“The coming year would be a memorable year for martial law victims if the Marcos Victims’ Compensation Bill will finally be enacted into law containing the provisions we victims want included. That is why even during the holidays, victims must continue to monitor and lobby to make sure that the law is not just enacted to prettify the Aquino government and deodorize its ugly human rights record among the public and in the community of nations,” Enriquez stated.

SELDA has been pushing for a law to indemnify victims of human rights violations as a component of justice, including victims of martial law. SELDA members have repeatedly believed and said that components of justice are recognition of victims of human rights violations, indemnification of victims, prosecution of perpetrators and their punishment, apology to victims and a promise from perpetrators of non-repetition of human rights violations.  This way, impunity will be lessened, if not completely curtailed.

“We have declared that a law for the reparation of victims of the Marcos dictatorship is only a battle won in our lifelong struggle for justice. So long as implementers of Martial Law remain unpunished, we will not tire of seeking justice for their victims.” Enriquez ended. ###

Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA chairperson 09209466207

SELDA’s response to Aquino’s recent statement on compensation to martial law victims

News Release
November 6, 2012

The Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) today welcomes with guarded enthusiasm, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s recent statements at the ASEM meeting in Laos to compensate victims of martial law.

“We have waited for this far too long now and President Noynoy Aquino has in fact mentioned this as one of his priority bills in last year’s SONA, but until now, this is  yet to be realized,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson of Selda. “We are hopeful that with this current pronouncement, the bill to compensate the victims will finally be enacted into a law.”

The human rights group clarified that not all of the $680 million Marcos Swiss deposit will go to the victims and that only one-third will be used for the compensation; and this is the equivalent of P10B.  “We recognize that the money is for the Filipinos and that it must be utilized for land reform. We only asked for a small portion of Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth for compensation,” Enriquez stated.

SELDA only wishes that the victims will no longer be made to wait more than they have already done. Furthermore, the human rights group urged
the Senate to pass a bill that would reflect the voice of the victims and remove provisions inimical to the interests of the victims.

SELDA has been lobbying for the Senate to revise and pass SB 2615. The Committee on Justice and Human Rights said it is still awaiting the comments of Senator Joker Arroyo on the bill before they submit it for plenary debates at the Senate. The House version was passed on March 21, 2012.

SELDA Chairperson, Marie Enriquez, brought the bill’s status to the attention of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council in September as well as the Human Rights Committee in October both in Geneva, urging the said bodies to remind the Philippine government of its commitment to compensate the martial law victims.  In her oral intervention at the September Human Rights Council session at the adoption of the Philippine UPR report, Enriquez “particularly took note of Switzerland’s UPR recommendation to compensate the victims of martial law” especially since the Swiss government has already transferred the US$680M Marcos Swiss deposits in favor of the Philippine government in 1997 yet.

SELDA asserts that compensation to human rights violations victims like the martial law victims is a component of justice that is enshrined in the UN instruments as well as in the Philippine Constitution.  Thus, the victims’ demand for indemnification are just and the portion of the funds that Marcos stashed in Swiss banks and have been transferred by the Swiss government rightfully belong to them.

SELDA will be watching and will continue to press for the government to deliver on its promise. ###

Reference:
Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson, SELDA
09175616800

After passage of Anti-Enforced Disappearance Bill, martial law victims call for passage of Marcos Victims’ Compensation Bill

Press Statement
22 October 2012

We welcome the approval of the anti-enforced disappearance bill by a bi-cameral session of the Senate and House of Representatives. It is high time that a law criminalizing the practice of enforced disappearance be enforced.

Martial law activist Rizalina Ilagan, a student leader from the University of the Philippines – Los Baños, was disappeared in 1977, together with nine other students and professors from the same University. They were later called the Southern Tagalog 10. Three were surfaced dead, while the rest were never found.

Victims of the dictatorship were vindicated when they won the now historic class suit in 1992 against Ferdinand Marcos. The Hawaii Appellate Court found Marcos guilty of human rights violations against 9,539 victims, among them some 1,000 victims of enforced disappearance. Yet, the military perpetrators, least of all Marcos, was not punished for their crimes.  Once enacted into law, the anti-enforced disappearance bill will allow us to hold responsible the perpetrators of enforced disappearance of activists.

The Anti-Enforced Disappearance Bill provides no prescription period for the crime, unless the victim has surfaced. The perpetrators of involuntary disappearance could be prosecuted no matter how much time has passed since the incident. Moreover, the bill recognizes command responsibility, which means a superior officer would also be culpable for the actions of his subordinates.

However, we are still struggling to claim justice with yet another bill pending in the Senate. The Marcos Victims’ Compensation Bill still has to be finalized by the Senate. Just like the Anti-Enforced Disappearance, this is long overdue

Selda has consistently urged the Aquino government to expedite the compensation bill of martial law victims. President Aquino should not waste any more time in enacting this bill into law. Its implementation, together with the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Bill, will add to our efforts at gaining justice for our loved ones, especially those who were disappeared during martial law. ###

Reference:
Bonifacio Ilagan (09176291241)
Vice Chairperson
SELDA

“Enough is Enough, indemnify ML victims now!” – Selda

Press Release
September 3, 2012
 

From martial law to Noynoy Aquino: injustice continues

“Enough is Enough, indemnify ML victims now!” – Selda

Former martial law activists brought their demands for justice and indemnification at the Mendiola Bridge today as the country marks the 40th year of the imposition of martial law this month.

Members of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) lambasted the Noynoy Aquino government’s negligence that resulted to unmonitored withdrawals from Imelda Marcos’ account at the Philippine Veterans Bank. The P36.55 million Marcos ill-gotten money under Imelda Marcos’ name is now only a little over P1M despite the garnishment order by the Sandiganbayan. Earlier in August, the ML victims suffered another setback after the Singapore Court ruled to award the $23Million Marcos ill-gotten wealth to the Lucio Tan-led Philippine National Bank. Tan is a known Marcos crony.

“We take on Mendiola once again just like 40 years ago so that the son of Ninoy and Cory Aquino hear and know that we are still here and that 40 is not just a number to remember but also a reminder of the length of time we have been fighting impunity and for the attainment of justice, “ Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA Chairperson said.

According to the group, impunity still reigns after decades of struggling for justice. “After overthrowing Marcos, we filed and won the now historic Hawaii class suit for victims of martial law” Enriquez said, “But even under the present “matuwid na daan” of Noynoy Aquino, we continue to suffer from injustice.”

“All we get from the Aquino government are reports of failure after failure,” Enriquez stated, “When are we going see this administration seriously work for the justice that we, survivors of that dark regime, truly deserve?”

Furthermore, the human rights group deplored the state of the indemnification bill at the Senate “Inaamag na ata ito sa Senado,” (It probably has grown mold at the Senate) said Trinidad Herrera, SELDA board member and also a survivor of the dictatorship. The group proceeded to the Senate from Mendiola for a noise barrage. “Our senators should remember that they owe us a law that should have been implemented by now. What are they waiting for, another 40 years?”

The Senate Committee on Human Rights reported that they are still completing the signatories to the bill before bringing it to the plenary. The bill was first filed in 1997 and has never been signed into law up to the present even as Noynoy Aquino rants about being a victim of martial law.

“We are not pawns that the government can use for their electoral campaign,” Trinidad continued, “The bill must be passed for the indemnification of victims and not as a publicity tool to enhance the image of those eyeing re-election.”

Selda also stated that while September marks the 40 years of the imposition of martial law, they have nothing to celebrate.  “We are not here to commemorate the imposition of martial law, we are still here because the governments that succeeded the dictatorship failed to bring justice, end human rights violations and impunity. We continue to fight until we achieve justice. From martial law to Noynoy Aquino, our brand of activism lives on.” Enriquez concluded. ###

Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson (09175616800)

Trinidad Herrera, Board Member (09155443181)

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Indemnify martial law victims now – group

Remate Online

FORMER martial law activists launched a protest actions at the Mendiola Bridge today to demand for justice and indemnification as the country marks the 40th year of the imposition of martial law this month.

Members of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) lambasted the Aquino government’s negligence that resulted to unmonitored withdrawals from Imelda Marcos’ account at the Philippine Veterans Bank.

The P36.55 million Marcos ill-gotten money under Imelda Marcos’ name is now only a little over P1M despite the garnishment order by the Sandiganbayan. Earlier in August, the ML victims suffered another setback after the Singapore Court ruled to award the $23Million Marcos ill-gotten wealth to the Lucio Tan-led Philippine National Bank. Tan is a known Marcos crony.

“We take on Mendiola once again just like 40 years ago so that the son of Ninoy and Cory Aquino hear and know that we are still here and that 40 is not just a number to remember but also a reminder of the length of time we have been fighting impunity and for the attainment of justice, “ Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA Chairperson said.

According to the group, impunity still reigns after decades of struggling for justice. “After overthrowing Marcos, we filed and won the now historic Hawaii class suit for victims of martial law” Enriquez said, “But even under the present “matuwid na daan” of Noynoy Aquino, we continue to suffer from injustice.”

“All we get from the Aquino government are reports of failure after failure,” Enriquez stated, “When are we going see this administration seriously work for the justice that we, survivors of that dark regime, truly deserve?”

Furthermore, the human rights group deplored the state of the indemnification bill at the Senate .

“Inaamag na ata ito sa Senado,” (It probably has grown mold at the Senate) said Trinidad Herrera, SELDA board member and also a survivor of the dictatorship.

The group will proceed to the Senate from Mendiola for a noise barrage. “Our senators should remember that they owe us a law that should have been implemented by now. What are they waiting for, another 40 years?”

The Senate Committee on Human Rights reported that they are still completing the signatories to the bill before bringing it to the plenary. The bill was first filed in 1997 and has never been signed into law up to the present even as Noynoy Aquino rants about being a victim of martial law.

“We are not pawns that the government can use for their electoral campaign,” Trinidad continued, “The bill must be passed for the indemnification of victims and not as a publicity tool to enhance the image of those eyeing re-election.”

The group also stated that while September marks the 40 years of the imposition of martial law, they have nothing to celebrate.  “We are not here to commemorate the imposition of martial law, we are still here because the governments that succeeded the dictatorship failed to bring justice, end human rights violations and impunity. We continue to fight until we achieve justice. From martial law to Noynoy Aquino, our brand of activism lives on,” Enriquez said.


Martial law victims

Lino Santos | Manila Standard Today

Martial law victims and kin demand justice and indemnification during a rally at the Chino Roces (formery Mendiola) Bridge as the country marks the 40th year of the imposition of martial rule this month.


Martial Law remembered

PHOTO BY JUNNY ROY FOR ABS-CBNNEWS.COM

Photo by Junny Roy | ABS-CBN.com

Former martial law activists rally in front of the Senate on Monday to demand justice and indemnification as the country marks the 40th year of the imposition of martial law this month. The group lambasted the government for its failure to successfully prosecute the Marcoses for alleged atrocities under martial law.


Families of Martial Law victims urge Senate to pass bill compensating them for atrocities

Karl John Reyes | InterAksyon.com

Families of victims of Martial Law atrocities led by a human rights group urged the Senate on Monday to pass a compensation bill now pending in one of its committees.

“We have lobbied to our legislators even protested at the steps of the House of Representatives and the Senate demanding that the bill to indemnify victims of Martial Law be finally enacted into law. The Lower House passed its version of the indemnification bill, House Bill 5990, on March 21. Unfortunately, the Senate’s version, Senate Bill 2615, is still at the committee…level,” Roneo Clamor, national coordinator of Samahan ng ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya.

Families of victims of martial law hold a rally in front of the Senate, asking the chamber to approve a bill that will compensate them for atrocities of the Marcos regime. (Jamin Verde/InterAksyon.com)

However, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero debunked Clavor’s claim that Senate Bill 2615 is still pending at the committee. He said that the committee report is scheduled for plenary debate. The committee is still waiting for inputs about the report from Senator Joker Arroyo.

“Senator Arroyo wanted to make revision and reviews on the report before sending the bill for plenary debates,” said Escudero, whose late father Salvador, served as Agriculture Minister of President Ferdinand Marcos.

Marcos placed the entire country under Martial Law on September 21, 1972. Among those who implemented military rule was Marcos’ defense minister and now Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

“We are finished in the Committee but still waiting for the inputs of Senator Joker Arroyo. Ipinasa ko iyon sa last congress, we approved in on third reading but the House did not,” Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights said.

 

Appeal from a victim’s son

Meanwhile, Ronnie Manalo, 49, of Capas, Tarlac appealed to the Senate to immediately pass the bill to indemnify his family, including other families and survivors of the human right violations during the Marcos dictatorship.

“Walo po kaming kaanak ng biktima ng Martial law na nandito. Ngayon, 49 years old na ako, wala pang katarungan hanggang ngayon, wala pa simula nang mapatay ang aking ama noong June 24, 1970 sa San Rafael, Tarlac,” Manalo said.

When he was six years old, his father, Romulo was allegedly killed by armed men after attending a farmer’s meeting in a sitio in San Rafael, Tarlac on June 24,1970.

“Napatay po ang aking ama na si Romulo Manalo sa isang masaker sa San Rafael, Tarlac noong June 24, 1970. Sabi nila papunta sila sa meeting, noong pag-uwi, hinarang sila ng mga may baril na military,” Manalo said. (My father, Romulo Manalo, was killed in a massacre in San Rafael, Tarlac on June 24, 1970. He left to attend a meeting but on the way home, he was blocked by armed military men.)

“Humihingi po kami ng hustiya at katarungan sa panukalang batas na ito. Pinatay po ang aking ama noong anim na taong gulang pa lamang ako, kaya ngayon nandito ako upang humingi ng hustisya at katarungan,” Manalo concluded. (My father was killed when I was just six years old which is why I’m here seeking justice.)

Legislation is needed to allot part of sequestered funds from the Marcoses’ wealth for the victims of Martial Law because the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law provides that all sequestered assets from the Marcos family should be spent for land reform.

In 1995, the Federal Court of Hawaii found Marcos guilty of grave human-rights violations in a class suit filed by Selda and awarded $2 billion in compensatory damages to the victims.

There were 9,539 complainants in the class suit against the Marcoses.

Three years later, the Swiss government transferred $640 million to the Philippine government. The Philippine Supreme Court ordered its transfer to the national treasury in 2003.

 

Marcos hands-off on the bill

For his part, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., said he will not either participate nor vote on the Compensation Bill since it involves his family in the suit.

“Again, lahat ng compensation on human rights and their legal action for the compensation is now on the hands of the national government. As I said before, all cases on human rights victims including compensation, we don’t appear in court. We are not the party anymore, binitiwan na namin. Whatever the court’s decision, it is now with the human rights victims and the national government,” Marcos explained.

“I have to refuse to participate in the deliberation of the bill because it involves my family. So hindi naman tama na boboto ako, one way of another,” he said.


Martial law victims march to Palace, Senate

Dennis Carcamo | Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Members of a rights group on Monday marched to the historic Don Chino Roces Bridge near Malacañang to demand from the Aquino administration the indemnification of the victims of rights violations during the imposition of Martial law 40 years ago by the late President Ferdinand Marcos.

Members of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) also scored President Benigno Aquino III’s government for alleged negligence, resulting to unmonitored withdrawals from the account of Imelda Marcos’ account at the Philippine Veterans Bank.

The P36.55 million Marcos ill-gotten wealth under the name of Mrs. Marcos, has shrunk to a little over P1 million despite the garnishment order by the Sandiganbayan, SELDA said.

Earlier in August, martial law victims suffered another setback after the Singapore Court ruled to award the $23 million Marcos ill-gotten wealth to the Lucio Tan-led Philippine National Bank. Tan is a known Marcos crony.

“We take on Mendiola once again just like 40 years ago so that the son of Ninoy and Cory Aquino [would] hear and know that we are still here and that 40 is not just a number to remember, but also a reminder of the length of time we have been fighting impunity and for the attainment of justice,” Selda chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said.

“All we get from the Aquino government are reports of failure after failure,” Enriquez added.

Selda also scored the state of the indemnification bill at the Senate.

“Inaamag na ata ito sa Senado,” Selda board member Trinidad Herrera said.

From the Don Chino Roces Bridge, the group marched to the Senate in Pasay City and held a noise barrage.

“Our senators should remember that they owe us a law that should have been implemented by now. What are they waiting for, another 40 years?” Herrera said.

The Senate Committee on Human Rights reported that it’s still completing the signatories to the bill before bringing it to the plenary.

The bill has been pending in Congress since 1997.


Withdrawals From Marcos Wealth Deplored

Chito Chavez | Manila Bulletin

MANILA, Philippines — As the country marks the 40th anniversary of martial law this month, activists held a protest rally at Mendiola Bridge on Monday to denounce the Aquino administration for the unmonitored withdrawals from former first lady and now Congresswoman Imelda Marcos’ account at Philippine Veterans Bank.

Members of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) said the Php 36.55 million Marcos ill-gotten wealth under the former first lady’s name is down a little over R1 million despite the garnishment order of the Sandiganbayan.

Earlier in August, the martial law victims suffered another setback after the Singapore Court awarded the $23 million of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth to the Lucio Tan-led Philippine National Bank (PNB).

Selda claimed that Tan is a known Marcos crony.

“We take on Mendiola once again just like 40 years ago so that the son of Ninoy and Cory Aquino hears and knows that we are still here and that 40 is not just a number to remember but also a reminder of the length of time we have been fighting impunity and for the attainment of justice,’’ Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Selda chairperson, said.

The group maintained that impunity still reigns after decades of struggling for justice.

“After overthrowing Marcos, we filed and won the now historic Hawaii class suit for victims of martial law. But even under the present “matuwid na daan (right path)” of Noynoy (President Benigno S.) Aquino, we continue to suffer from injustice,” Enriquez said.

“All we get from the Aquino government are reports of failure after failure. When are we going see this administration seriously work for the justice that we, survivors of that dark regime, truly deserve?” she said.

Trinidad Herrera, Selda board member deplored the state of the indemnification bill at the Senate. “It probably has grown mold at the Senate,” Herrera said of the measure.

The Senate Committee on Human Rights reported that it is still completing the signatories to the bill before bringing it to the plenary.

The group claimed the bill was first filed in 1997 and has never been signed into law up to the present even as Aquino rants about being a victim of martial law.

“We are not pawns that the government can use for their electoral campaign. The bill must be passed for the indemnification of victims and not as a publicity tool to enhance the image of those eyeing re-election,” Trinidad added.


200 biktima ng Martial Law, nag-noise barrage sa Senado

Henry Ateulan, Radyo Patrol 44 | DZMM Radyo Patrol 630

Nagsagawa ng noise barrage sa harap ng Senado ang may 200 biktima ng Martial Law bilang pagbatikos sa anila’y ill-gotten wealth ng pamilya ni dating Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos.

Pinangunahan ng Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) ang aktibidad.

Isinisigaw ng grupo, ang anila’y kawalan ng aksyon ng administrasyon ni Pangulong Noynoy Aquino para i-monitor ang walang habas na withdrawal mula sa account ni dating first lady Imelda Marcos sa Philippine Veterans Bank.

Binabanggit pa nila na mula sa P36.5 milyon na ill-gotten wealth umano ng mga Marcos, umaabot na lang ito sa P1 milyon na naka-deposito.

Umaapela rin ang grupo sa mga senador, partikular na sa Senate Committee on Human Rights na isabatas na ang Indemnification Bill o panukalang magbibigay ng karapatan at kabayaran sa pinsalang idinulot ng batas militar.

Ang aktibidad ay isinabay sa ika-40 taon ng pagkakatatag ng Martial Law na idineklara ni dating Pangulong Marcos noong Setyembre 21, 1972.


Marcos’ victims demand payout

Joe Torres | UCANews

Marcos’ victims demand payout
Sufferers of tyranny still wait for compensation

Victims of human rights abuses during Ferdinand Marcos’ 20-year dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s have called for justice and compensation as the country marks the 40th anniversary of the imposition of martial law this month.

At least 100 victims marched to the presidential palace and the Senate building in Manila today to demand what they described as “overdue justice.”

“We are still here,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez of SELDA, an organization of former political detainees. ”Forty is not just a number to remember but also a reminder of the length of time we have been fighting.”

After decades of struggling for justice, “impunity still reigns,” Enriquez said.

What the victims of martial law get from the government are only reports of “failure after failure,” she added.

Martial law was declared on September 21, 1972 and lasted until 1981, when Pope John Paul II first visited the Philippines. It was declared to suppress what Marcos claimed to be increasing civil strife and a threat from communism.

Marcos’ subsequent rule became unpopular due to widespread human rights abuses by the military, such as the use of torture on political activists.

After his ouster in 1986, activists filed a class suit against him in a US court where he was found guilty of human rights violations. The Marcos estate was ordered to compensate around 10,000 victims.

Trinidad Herrera, a former political detainee, said a congressional bill designed to do this seems to have “grown mold” in the Senate.

“Our senators should remember that they owe us a law that should have been implemented by now. What are they waiting for, another 40 years?” he said.

The bill was first submitted in 1997 but has yet to pass through Congress.

Once approved and signed into law, the government is supposed to compensate victims using funds seized from Marcos.

“The bill must be passed for the indemnification of victims and not as a publicity tool to enhance the image of those eyeing re-election,” Herrera said.


After two years in office, Aquino prolonging the wait for Martial Law Victims

Letter to the Editor

Forty years since the country was put under Martial Law and two years into office of the Aquino administration, Martial Law victims remain at a loss on what is keeping Pres. Aquino from enacting the bill to indemnify and bring justice to the victims of Martial Law.

We have lobbied to our legislators, even protested at the steps of the House of Representatives and the Senate demanding that the bill to indemnify victims of Martial Law be finally enacted into law. The Lower House passed its version of the indemnification bill, House Bill 5990, on March 21. Unfortunately, the Senate’s version, Senate Bill 2615, is still at the Committee on Justice and Human Rights level.

We would like to remind the Aquino administration that the Swiss government has already transferred the Marcos ill-gotten wealth in favor of the Philippine government because the victims had the courage to file charges against the former dictator in Hawaii. Had it not been for the efforts of the martial law victims themselves, the Marcos loot deposited in the Swiss banks would not have been recovered. The fund transfer had been done by the Swiss Government over a decade ago with stipulations that martial law victims be considered in its appropriations.

Victims are not even asking for the full amount. We only asked for one-thirds of the amount knowing fully well that the rest of the Filipino people must also benefit from the returned fund.

We even expressed fears before that the previous Arroyo administration may have dipped its hands into the fund for her election campaign, but the victims were assured that funds for indemnification are supposedly preserved in a trust fund. What is the reason then for Aquino’s foot-dragging?

On June 14 and15, both the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) agreed to continue meaningful discussions to pave the way for the resumption of the peace negotiations. Indemnification of victims of the Marcos dictatorship will be one of the concerns to be discussed.

Likewise, the issue of compensation of Martial Law victims was mentioned under item number 92 of the Philippine Report to the Universal Periodic Review on May 28 at the United Nations, which included “compensation of the Martial Law victims” as one its commitments in upholding human rights.

With these declarations, we hold the Philippine Government over its promise to act on the indemnification of Martial Law Victims NOW. The waiting has been too long.

Different regimes have ignored our demands. We have expected a swifter action from the son of a former victim of the Marcos Dictatorship. Numerous pronouncements have been made, but Pres. Aquino seems to be going the way of his predecessors.

More than 10,000 victims of Martial Law are waiting for a more positive action from this government.  We are not only asking Pres. Aquino to give us what is rightfully ours. We are demanding him to do his job.

Until then, we will continue to act and overcome all limitations imposed on us in our desire to achieve justice.

Reference:
Angelina B. Ipong
Secretary General
09499587373