from martial law to Noynoy Aquino
We are twice victims of
injustice – Martial Law victims
September 20, 2012
QUEZON CITY – On
the eve of the 40th year of the imposition of martial law, victims of
human rights violations under the Marcos dictatorship pressed on their
fight for justice and indemnification as they rallied once more at the
foot of the historic Mendiola Bridge.
“We fought for justice under the dictatorship yet, 40 years later we
are still victims of injustice,” Bonifacio Ilagan, Samahan ng mga
Ex-Detainee Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto or SELDA said. “Many of our
colleagues sacrificed their lives in the hope that one day they will
see their countrymen free from want and fear.”
Ilagan pointed out that, “many of our colleagues were killed,
disappeared, tortured and jailed, but after filing and winning the
landmark human rights violations case vs. Ferdinand Marcos in Hawaii,
those who were responsible for these atrocities have not been
punished. Worse, they are back in power.”
Martial law activists have pushed for the passage for the
indemnification bill since 1998. They lambasted President Aquino for
“sitting on the Marcos Victims Compensation Bill.” The human rights
group expected more from the current administration, saying that
“Noynoy, the son of a martial law victim should deliver justice to the
victims and hold the perpetrators of human rights violations
accountable for the crimes committed against thousands of Filipinos.
But, the Marcos’ Victims Compensation Bill is again in for a tough
Senator Chiz Escudero has, on many occasion, said that the report by
Committee on Justice and Human is ready for the plenary debates. “We
have received the same reply for the longest time. Is the government
serious about this? Or are the senators intimidated by the presence of
a Marcos in the Senate,” Ilagan asked.
SELDA is also apprehensive with some of the provisions in the bill
that they believe do not reflect the interests of the ML victims.
Thus, it reiterated its earlier position, among others, the
recognition of all 9,539 victims and class suit plaintiffs who won the
case against Marcos both in the US and in the Swiss courts.
SELDA members believe that the passage of the indemnification bill
into a law is a step towards justice, “not so much for the
compensation but more importantly, the recognition that injustice was
committed to thousands of people during martial law. This should serve
both as a reminder and a warning to all the administrations that
people will not take injustice blindly. As proven in our recent past,
there are many other avenues to pursue justice,” said Ilagan.
“We have no material wealth to pass on to our children and families.
But so long as oppression and exploitation remain, this undying fervor
to struggle for what is right and just will be our legacy to them and
to the Filipino youth. Tuloy ang Laban! (The struggle lives on!)” they