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    Marcos victims disgusted with Victims Claims Board appointment

    SELDA slams Aquino appointment of PNP general Chairperson of rights victims claims board: “The height of insult and indifference to Martial Law victims!”

    SELDA expressed disgust over the appointment of a retired police general as chair of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board that shall process the recognition and reparation of Martial Law victims – PNP Director Lina Castillo-Sarmiento.

    “This is the gravest insult that the Aquino government inflicted upon the victims of Martial Law. Sarmiento was part of the Philippine Constabulary, along with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, that implemented the worst of human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship. How can we accept that?” exclaimed Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of SELDA.

    Not a single SELDA nominee was appointed to the Human Rights Victims Claims Board, despite a provision in the law which says that SELDA is one of the human rights organizations recognized by the law that may submit its nominations to represent and help recognize victims of the Marcos dictatorship.

    “This is not the real sentiment of martial law victims. This is BS Aquino’s Claims Board led by a general originating from the most dreaded human rights violators, the defunct Philippine Constabulary, a forerunner of the Philippine National Police (PNP),” said Enriquez.

    Other appointed members of the claims board are Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Byron Bocar, Aurora Parong, Galuasch Ballaho, Jacqueline Mejia, Glenda Litong, Wilfred Asis and Erlinda Senturias.

    Enriquez called the appointment of Sarmiento as “overbearing arrogance of the Aquino government that is bound to marginalize the tens of thousands of rights violations victims right from the start.”

    “Pres. BS Aquino made the victims wait too long for the appointment of the claims board only to fail them in the end.  Aquino II’s recent appointments only show how he considers Filipinos who fought for freedom and democracy, and on whose struggle his mother and himself were able to take the reins of government. We vow even more to assert our call for justice. We shall monitor and watch closely this claims board of Aquino,” said Enriquez.

    A press conference will be held by SELDA on Saturday, 15 February, in protest of the Aquino-formed claims board. The panel shall be what SELDA will call as the “People’s Claims Board,” that consists of Martial Law victims submitted for nomination to the Human Rights Victims Claims Board.

    The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) is an organization of former political prisoners in the Philippines. Founded on 4 December 1984, SELDA was initiated by newly-released political prisoners of the martial law period.  SELDA’s primary task is to work for the release of all political prisoners and to see to it that humane treatment of those who are still in detention are complied with by the Philippine authorities.

    SELDA advocates justice for current and former political prisoners. It calls for the mobilisation of resources in support of political prisoners, former detainees and their families. It carries out legislative advocacy for the indemnification and rehabilitation of political prisoners. SELDA goes into partnership and builds solidarity with concerned individuals and groups for the freedom and welfare of political prisoners and all victims of tyranny.

    Reference:
    Marie Hilao-Enriquez
    SELDA Chairperson
    +63917-5616800

    SELDA National Office:
    2/F Erythrina Building
    #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets
    Brgy. Central District, Diliman
    Quezon City 1101, Philippines
    Tel: 632-4342837
    Fax: 632-4354146

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