Indemnify martial law victims now – group

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.


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