“Martial law victim na, pinahihirapan pa”
chairperson assails Human Rights Victims Claims Board
July 10, 2014
QUEZON CITY – Marie
Hilao-Enriquez, a well-known martial law victim and one of the members
in the Hawaii class suit filed against the late dictator Ferdinand
Marcos in 1986, assailed the BS Aquino-appointed Human Rights Victims
Claims Board (HRVCB) in a press conference today.
“I accuse this government of
sabotaging the implementation of the Human Rights Victims Reparation
and Recognition Act of 2013 or RA 10368! When BS Aquino was quoted by
media reports saying there are ‘those who would want to sabotage this
law,’ he was definitely talking about us who vehemently objected his
appointment of PNP Gen. Sarmiento as HRVCB head. Now, by his actions,
it is the Aquino government that is sabotaging the law at the expense
of martial law victims,” said Enriquez, chairperson of Karapatan.
According to Enriquez, it
appears now that BS Aquino does not want the law intended to recognize
martial law victims and indemnify them for the sufferings they
experienced. “Aquino defended Gen. Sarmiento’s appointment by saying
she is mature and physically able. He is adamantly standing by his
choice and is ramming it on our throats,” Enriquez said.
The HRVCB was formed in
accordance with RA 10368, or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and
Recognition Act of 2013, which shall process and accept applications
of martial law victims.
“After two months of the
law’s supposed implementation, problems are piling up. Aside from the
former PNP general’s appointment as head of the claims board, the
application process does not accommodate and even discourages martial
law victims to file. Also, there is no categorical statement from the
claims board that it shall recognize the 9,539 members of the class
suit and the 24 direct action plaintiffs against Marcos in Hawaii,”
She and fellow martial law
victims personally monitored the application process carried out by
the HRVCB in its main office in UP Diliman and its on-site regional
centers, particularly in Iloilo on June 30 to July 1. “The claims
board asks for too many requirements from the victims, many of which
were outrightly unnecessary. Biktima na nga, pinahihirapan pa,” she
Victims described their
“ordeal” in filing as “para kaming pinadadaan sa butas ng karayom.”
Victims are asked to produce NSO-issued birth certificates, marriage
certificates, death certificates, original release papers among
“Those employed by the board
as paralegals and lawyers forget that the incidents happened during
martial law. Do the members of the claims board understand that it was
martial law, when military power took over civilian institutions? How
do you expect victims, many of whom are farmers and ordinary people,
to acquire such documents? How could they ask for legal papers when
they were massacred, abducted, arrested and tortured in huge numbers?”
According to the
implementing rules and regulations of the law, only the legal heirs
are required to present birth certificates for proof of relationship
to the victim. Applicants who are direct victims only need to present
an affidavit narrating the circumstances of the violation they
experienced, and any government-issued ID and other supporting
documents. “This is not what is happening in the submission of
application,” according to Enriquez.
“The application process
should accommodate the majority of those who have come forward to
file. It is the claims board’s task to prove the veracity of their
claims application. Denying application forms this early is contrary
to the principle of recognizing victims,” explained Enriquez.
As a result, only a small
percentage of the thousands who arrived from faraway provinces were
accommodated in the regional on-site centers, which were set up for
only two to three days in each location with the members of the Claims
Board or their representatives staying in hotels or smug
accommodations in the cities contrary to what they say as a caravan to
go and know the victims better.
In Angeles City, Pampanga,
the first of their regional on-site centers, the HRVCB only accepted
300 applicants in two days where a hundred more victims were not able
to file applications. The HRVCB said they will return for pending
applications in Central Luzon, with no exact date.
In Lucena City, only 93
individuals were processed out of more than six hundred victims who
went to file their applications. In Iloilo City, only 268 victims were
processed in two days out of more than 800 victims who arrived to file
applications from the different parts of the Panay Island.
“Their actions lead us to
ask, is it the interest of BS Aquino’s claims board to recognize
victims, or another callous effort to disenfranchise them?” said
Meanwhile, Satur Ocampo, one
of the delisted class action suit members, reiterated that the claims
board should categorically state they shall automatically recognize as
victims the 9,539 members of the Hawaii class suit.
The law states that it
recognizes members of the historic class action suit filed against the
late dictator Marcos, but does not mention the number of victims which
totals to 9,539.
“We demand that the claims
board acquire a copy of the masterlist of class suit members where the
9,539 victims are listed and were the ones remain intact,” said Satur
Ocampo, who is among the so-called delisted class suit members.
Delisted members pertain to
the more than 2,000 Hawaii-court recognized victims who were
arbitrarily dropped from the list of class suit members and thus, are
unable to claim reparation in two settlement agreements made by Atty.
“Ultimately, we are
demanding that just recognition and reparation be given to the
victims. The Aquino government should be warned not to disenfranchise
victims more by violating the law which we, the martial law victims
fought for in a long and hard struggle to be passed and implemented.
We ousted a dictator who denied the people of their rights. We hope BS
Aquino can learn the lessons of history. If he doesn’t want to be
shamed if impeached, it is better for him to resign and remove himself
in office NOW,” said Enriquez.
CBCP supports the
People’s to abolish the pork barrel system
July 8, 2014
CEBU CITY – The
people’s initiative to abolish the pork barrel system got a big boost
from the recently concluded plenary assembly of the Catholic Bishops
Conference of the Philippines.
The Catholic Bishops agreed to support the people’s initiative, which
aims to enact a law that abolishes presidential and congressional pork
barrel, prohibits and criminalizes appropriation and use of lump sum
discretionary funds and mandates line item budgeting.
The CBCP’s decision comes at a time when the Catholics nationwide are
celebrating 2014 as “The Year of the Laity”.
During the discussion of various issues under the CBCP Committee on
the Laity, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma appealed to his colleagues to
give moral blessing and backing to two people’s initiatives – that of
the People’s Initiative to Abolish Pork Barrel and the People’s
Initiative Against Political Dynasties.
“In order to put a final lid on the pork barrel system, specifically
in the legislative and executive branches of government, we support
the proposal from anti-pork barrel groups in the whole country that
the sovereign people use the 1987 Philippine Constitution provision on
the passage of a law through the people’s initiative,” Archbishop
The anti-pork people’s initiative is being spearheaded by the newly
formed coalition, the People’s Initiative to Abolish Pork Barrel (PIAP).
PIAP includes the Abolish Pork Movement, Cebu Coalition Against Pork
Barrel, Church People Against Pork Barrel, E-Pirma, Makabayan, Scrap
Pork Network and Solidarity.
Many organizations also stand behind the people’s initiative in
pushing to define and prohibit political dynasties. The CBCP had
issued a pastoral statement in January 2013, denouncing the worsening
problem of political dynasties nationwide.
After a discussion in the CBCP plenary, a consensus emerged to focus
first and ensure the success of the people’s initiative to abolish the
pork barrel system and next, the people’s initiative against political
The CBCP saw the pork barrel as a burning and pressing issue that has
sparked people’s outrage, providing favorable conditions for the
initiative to end congressional and presidential pork barrel, a big
source of corruption and patronage politics.
The Bishops agreed to back the August 23, 2014 People’s Congress being
called by the coalition PIAP. The People’s Congress will finalize the
people’s initiative proposed law against pork barrel and firm up plans
for nationwide education and signature campaign. A kick-off rally will
be held at Plaza Independencia on the same day to start the nationwide
City councilor Pedro Ebcas addressing the bayanihan teams during
the Send-off Ceremony held at Brgy. Boroc, Ormoc City on July 4,
formally send-off for bayanihan activities in Leyte
By 19th Infantry Battalion,
July 7, 2014
KANANGA, Leyte –
Troops under Army's 19th Infantry Battalion and PNP's Regional Public
Safety Battalion in Region VIII were dispatched for peace and
development missions dubbed as bayanihan activities in hinterland
villages of Ormoc City and Carigara, Leyte.
This after two batches of
combined Army and PNP troops were officially send-off during
ceremonies held on July 2 at Brgy. Tinaguban, Carigara, Leyte and on
July 4 at Brgy. Boroc, Ormoc City.
The ceremonies were attended
by local officials who welcomed and pledged their commitment to
support the mission of the government forces.
Lt. Col. Nedy Espulgar,
commanding officer of 19IB, said at least 60 PNP personnel were
augmented to the unit for the mission which is expected to terminate
in the next three months.
Espulgar further said that
during the mission, military and PNP shall jointly perform bayanihan
activities which include identification of social issues and
subsequently link them to appropriate government agencies and offices.
While in the area, troops are likewise mandated to assist in the
delivery of social services by domestic and foreign organizations.
"We will also look into
opportunities of introducing Land Bank's program on natural, organic
and sustainable farming system as this may help uplift and increase
the income of indigent farmers in the area," Espulgar added.
The actions and activities
of the bayanihan teams will be guided by the local officials and the
LGU whom Espulgar jokingly call as the teams' acting commanders in
their respective barangay.
After the ceremony, local
officials and bayanihan teams shared a traditional military "boodle
fight" which was ably prepared by the soldiers. After which, the local
officials boarded on the military trucks and took the bayanihan teams
who will be deployed in their respective villages.
For the said mission,
bayanihan activities will be focused in nine barangays namely
Canlampay, Paglaum, Caghalo, San Isidro and Hiluctugan in Carigara,
Leyte; and Boroc, Patag, Hugpa and Quezon Jr. in Ormoc City.
"We do not discount the fact
that this mission may stir-up the presence of the political and armed
components of the NPA. In the next few days, they might start
bombarding criticisms and “black propaganda” against government
forces. But our efforts will not be towards them, it will be for the
people in the community who needs our support", Espulgar concluded.
Cayetano: PNoy may
have lost a battle, but he is winning the war against corruption
By Office of the Senate
July 6, 2014
PASAY CITY –
“Although Malacañang lost the battle, I think they have won the war.”
Senate Majority Floor Leader
Alan Peter Cayetano said this as he welcomed the recent decision of
the Supreme Court declaring specific acts under the President Aquino’s
Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.
“Malacañang lost in the
sense that mali na na-augment nang walang item sa budget, mali na i-consider
ito na savings na hindi pa nagagastos... But it shows that democracy
is alive, it shows checks and balances, it shows the respect of the
President sa Supreme Court, kaya dapat sundin natin ang desisyon ng
Supreme Court,” the senator said.
The Chief Executive and
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad have earlier defended the
controversial initiative, saying it was necessary to fast-track growth
in the economy.
This, however, was
criticized by SC justices, who pointed out that the cross-border
transfer of funds from one government branch to another was not
allowed in the Constitution.
Following the high court’s
decision, several groups have expressed their dismay over the
President and the budget chief for implementing the stimulus fund.
Some advocates also called for Abad’s resignation and for Aquino’s
But Cayetano believed that
instead of considering the decision as a defeat by the current
administration, people should look at it as one of Aquino’s great
achievements insofar as the justice system in the country is
“The decision shows that the
justice system works… Noong panahon ng Arroyo administration, either
hindi yan i-take up o patay-malisya lang,” he said.
Reacting to calls for an
impeachment trial against the President, the Senate leader said Aquino
cannot be held culpable for merely adopting what the previous
administrations did, adding that the money which was allotted to fund
several projects were spent in good faith and were not stolen.
“Iba yung ninakaw mo, iba
yung in good faith. Ginawa mo ang akala mong tama, pero sinabi ng
Supreme Court, mali ang proseso. Agree ako na mali, agree ako na
Kongreso ang dapat mag-appropriate. But disagree ako sa nagpapalabo ng
isyu na sinasabing ikulong na ang mga yan dahil hindi naman nila
ninakaw ang pera,” he said.
“The DAP was an honest
mistake on the part of Malacañang because they adopted what the
previous administrations did. Some constitutional bodies and other
departments also did the same thing. Mauubos ang nasa gobyerno kung
tuwing merong unconstitutional, ipapakulong niyo sila, kasi ang
illegal, immoral at unconsititutional, magkakaiba yun… Let's be
reasonable, let's welcome the decision and implement it fully but
let's not go overboard,” he added.
Liberal Party and its tyranny
Aquino, Abad and
Rep. Evardone bastardizing democracy, labor group says
By Bukluran ng Manggawang
July 4, 2014
QUEZON CITY – Amidst
the snowballing calls for resignation and accountability from all
sectors of society, the top-brass of the ruling party, the Liberal
Party (LP) has not budged a bit and continued to assert their defenses
for their involvement in the design and usage of unspent funds or the
Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Workers group Bukluran ng
Manggawang Pilipino (BMP) claimed that the officials’ refusal to
acknowledge and abide by the unanimous Supreme Court decision and
consciously organizing the suppression of any impeachment moves in the
Batasan Pambansa is the death “democracy” and the constitutional
“Noynoy Aquino, Butch Abad
and even Representative Ben Evardone (Eastern Samar) are not only
bastardizing the very concept of democracy and fundamental principles
of good government but are murdering democracy in front of our very
eyes,” said Gie Relova of the BMP.
He added that, “The
suppression of a constitutionally-warranted impeachment process
obscures every single letter of the Constitution; it stifles the
fervor of an abused nation to seek justice for the billions of pesos
in taxes quenched from their brow of every decent Filipino.”
Since the Supreme Court
declared part of the DAP unconstitutional, Malacanang has been
claiming that they have done nothing wrong. Meanwhile, its allies in
Congress led by Evardone have been busy issuing statements that they
vow to block any and all efforts to impeach Aquino.
“If they, Aquino and his
technocratic bureaucrats such as Abad and Cesar Purisima pledge
innocence and uprightness, what do they have to fear in an impeachment
court? That is what democracy is all about,” asserted Relova.
The group is seeking
accountability and prosecution of all those involved in the blatant
violation of the Constitutional provision limiting executive powers
whether technocrat or elected official.
The labor leader also noted
that the Aquino and his LP partymates are emulating then President
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s tactics in controlling its “co equal” branch
of government, in an effort to block impeachment processes against her
in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
“It’s now a battle between
the peoples’ resolve and thirst for justice versus the tyranny of
numbers of the Liberal Party, the true enemies of democracy,” Relova
Relova warned that, “The
cumulative pent up anger of the Filipino nation in its search for
justice and accountability against corrupt Presidents coupled with low
wages, contractualization of labor, high prices and abandonment of
social services shall eventually explode like a massive social volcano
reaching unprecedented political heights”.
Despite the ruling party’s
insistence of committing no wrongdoing, Relova says that, “Justice
will not be served in a silver platter and the axe must be wielded
firmly by an aggrieved and desolate people, led by the deprived
“Let the axe fall where it
should,” he concluded.
Labor group hits
DAP defenders, tells lawmakers to abide by the SC decision
By Bukluran ng Manggawang
July 3, 2014
QUEZON CITY – A labor
group reacted to the avalanche of statements made publicly on the
recently concluded Disbursement Acceleration Program by the Supreme
Court (SC). The statements, the group says is tantamount to the
refusal of Palace allies to act in accordance with the decision and
shield Aquino and themselves from accountability.
Among the lawmakers and
public personalities which defended the DAP were Senator Antonio
Trillanes, Representatives Walden Bello of Akbayan partylist, Ben
Evardone of Eastern Samar, Winston Castelo of Quezon City, Miro Quimbo
of Marikina and renowned constitutionalist Joaquin Bernas S.J.
“Now that the SC has
decided, these so-called representatives of the people have revealed
that they are not of the people but representatives of Aquino. They
are obviously parroting the statements and positions of Palace
officials,” said Gie Relova of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino
“After fattening themselves,
the least they could do is shut up and abide by the SC decision.
Though we expect them to be kapal-muks, they should instead start
admitting their roles in the illegal disbursement of public funds” he
The lawmakers’ statements
ranged from a mere “administrative lapse” to “done in good faith”,
also the statement issued by Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.
Relova noted that most of
the statements made by the lawmakers in defense of the DAP was also
contiguous to their positions to whether President Aquino would be
held accountable for the juggling public funds without going through
BMP took exception at the
opinion of Joaquin Bernas who was reported to have said that, “It
seems to me it’s more of ignorance of the Constitution, and ignorance
is not a ground for impeachment”.
“For a veteran
constitutionalist and professor of the law, the good Father maybe
suffering from mental lapses. Ignorance of the law maybe applicable
for petty infringements such as traffic violations since traffic
routes are often altered. But the Constitution has not been changed
since 1987” he said.
Relova further explained
that, “How can Bernas claim Aquino's ignorance of the DAP's
constitutional violations, when then Senator Aquino filed Senate Bill
3121 or the Budget Impoundment Control Act in March 4, 2009, in his
Explanatory Note Aquino cited Article VI Section 25 of the 1987
Constitution acknowledging its existence and limitations of the power
of the Executive. The very same provision the Supreme Court says the
DAP of Aquino, Abad and Purissima violated in its decision”.
Article VI Section 25 of the
1987 Constitution stipulates that, “Congress may not increase the
appropriations recommended by the President for the operation of the
Government as specified in the budget. The form, content and manner of
preparation of the budget shall be prescribed by law".
“Bernas is acting as a
modern-day Padre Damaso in his defense of Aquino and his abuses’”
The militants insisted that
Aquino and all the bureaucratic technocrats such as Budget Secretary
Butch Abad, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Treasury officials
Roberto Tan and Rosalia de Leon for they willfully committed blatant
constitutional violations and should be held liable.
“We all know that they are
not honorable and will not resign from their posts, so the only option
remaining for the nation to achieve justice is to oust them from
office. No matter the cost, if that is the only way to regain our
dignity,” Relova concluded.
TUCP Partylist Rep.
Mendoza dares Herrera to replace him
July 1, 2014
QUEZON CITY – Trade
Union Congress Party (TUCP) Party-list Rep. Raymond Mendoza dared
former Senator Ernesto Herrera to file the necessary complaint at the
House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) if he thinks he can
replace the congressman.
Meanwhile, Mendoza announced
he will officially begin his being member of the powerful Commission
on Appointments (CA) membership today.
“I am fully prepared to work
even harder as I begin my other important role as member of the
Commission on Appointments. I am ready to take to a higher level the
promotion of the workers’ legislative agenda in congress. I am happy
that all of my labor policy proposals are being intelligently vetted
by various committees including the proposal to strengthen the
security of tenure which has been eroded to the massive
contractualization promoted by so-called labor leaders,” Mendoza said.
“With regards to Mr.
Herrera’s claim that he will replace me as TUCP party-list
representative, I encourage him to attempt it. He has been a senator
and he has been a congressman before so he knows well that
jurisdiction for such a move lies with the House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal (HRET). Good luck to him,” Mendoza added.
Herrera issued a press
statement the other day saying he is going to replace Mendoza as TUCP
Party-list congressman following a Court of Appeals (CA) decision last
week affirming its earlier decision putting him as holdover president
of the labor center Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and
ordering the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to conduct an
election as soon as possible for members to determine rightful leaders
of the biggest labor center in the country.
In July 2012, the DOLE ruled
in favour of Atty. Democrito “Kito” Mendoza as president of TUCP.
However, Herrera brought the case to the CA.
TUCP spokesperson Alan
Tanjusay, on the other hand, clarified that the CA ruling pertains
only to the TUCP as labor center and it has no bearing on the TUCP
party-list as a duly registered political party. The party-list is
separate and distinct from the TUCP labor center.
Both have separate board
structure with the party-list registered with COMELEC and not the
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).