SELDA demands inclusion of all 9,539 Hawaii class suit members
SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) reiterated its demand to reinstate the 2,013 names of delisted Martial Law victims who should receive reparation in any of the settlement agreements.
The 2,013 delisted names are part of 9,539 victims recognized by the Hawaii court who filed a class suit against former president Ferdinand Marcos in the Federal Court of Honolulu in Hawaii in 1986.
According to Marie-Hilao Enriquez, the Hawaii court shouldn’t have wantonly delisted members of the class suit based merely on the reason that they failed to reply to letters sent by the Hawaii court asking for verification of their identity.
“Delisting the victims who were part of those who went after the Marcoses is a grave injustice. They were arbitrarily dropped from the list without notice and without due process, denying them of their right to reparation. We reiterate our demand to Judge Real to revert to the old list of Martial Law victims,” said Enriquez.
In October last year, SELDA filed an opposition on the delisting of members at the Hawaii court, stating that there has been an executory judgment by the US Court of Appeals dated 17 December 1996 that the number of victims who were qualified reparation remain at 9,539.
This only means that the victims shouldn’t be given more burden to write to the Hawaii courts, or confirm their identities because they have already been recognized as legitimate class suit members and victims,” said Enriquez.
The filed opposition also said that class suit members come from different parts of the archipelago, and many of them are ordinary farmers and workers who may not have the financial means and resources to immediately respond to the said reply required by the court. Many more belong to the informal settlers – the urban poor people who might have been moved from their original residences due to forced evictions and demolitions of their abodes.
“We shouldn’t aggravate their burden anymore, as justice has been so elusive from them. Until now, they are still demanding for the actual implementation of the law recognizing Martial Law victims,” said Enriquez.
SELDA hit the continuous non-implementation of the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act. It has been almost a year since Pres. Aquino signed the law, but until now, no claims board has been formed. The claims board is the body responsible for the process of recognition and reparation of the 9,539 victims and others who were not part of the Hawaii class suit.
The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) is an organization of former political prisoners in the Philippines. Founded on December 4, 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.
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