Ruining hopes for justice and indemnification

PRES. Benigno Aquino’s hobnobbing with the architects and implementers of Martial Law – Juan Ponce Enrile and Imelda Marcos; and, the equally accepting presence of Vice Pres. Jejomar Binay and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, put across one stark message for Martial Law victims: you may go to hell with your struggle for justice and indemnification.”

Thus, said Bonifacio Ilagan, a victim of martial law, on the reported attendance of the array of political players during the book launch of Enrile’s memoirs that featured his role during the Marcos dictatorship. Ilagan is the vice chairperson of the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA).

“It is appalling, it is revolting, it is infuriating how these government officials seek to portray that all is well, that there were no injustices committed, as if the scars of human rights abuses have disappeared, as if nothing happened; at a time when we are commemorating the 40th year of the imposition of martial law,” Ilagan said.

The group also lambasted Aquino’s speech during the said book launch, when he said that it would be “healthy” for the youth to read the senator’s autobiography. “Is distortion of history a healthy exercise? Aquino insults the youth of today when the first book he endorses on martial law is Enrile’s. This foretells what would become of the ML Historical Committee he created,” Ilagan said.

SELDA decried that these “alliances” are common among the ruling elite and politicians who despite their differences, “forgive and forget”. “They are only after their own political and economic interests; and, the iniquity and violations committed against the Filipino people, from martial law up to the administration of Noynoy Aquino, do not really count. On one hand, it is easy to understand why they could be allies. After all, they have the same sins against the poor Filipinos,” added Ilagan.

According to the group, moving forward means justice to the victims and punishment to those responsible for the crimes against the Filipinos, like Marcos and Enrile. “But this alliance between Aquino and the Marcoses could erase the possibility that justice would be rendered to those who offered their lives in the fight against the dictatorship,” Ilagan said.

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