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    SELDA to Pnoy: Pass the Marcos victims’ compensation bill now

    PRESS RELEASE- Reacting to the President’s statement on the issue of former dictator Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, SELDA Chairperson Marie Hilao Enriquez says, “It’s about time that the President has given his position on the issue.  His pronouncements, though belated, sounds pretty good for victims of martial law like us, but he should not have wasted the Vice President’s time nor even waited for us to raise our fists and voices again in the first place just to let him know that victims have not even been served justice to this day!  He, of all people, must know this and as President, who must lead the nation, should have shown the correct position in the first place!”

    The Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), an organization of former political prisoners established during Martial Law, also asserts that the President’s pronouncements must now be matched by concrete deeds as SELDA renewed the appeal for the immediate passage of the Marcos Victims Compensation Bill in the wake of Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s acknowledgement that justice has not been rendered to the victims of Martial Law.

    “It has been twenty five years since the dictator Marcos was ousted by people power and nineteen years after the landmark decision by the US Court granting the long-sought justice for the 9,539 victims of martial law and an award for reparation. But the Philippine government has yet to reciprocate the said decision rendering justice for the martial law victims by passing a law will give justice and indemnification for the victims,” said Marie Hilao Enriquez, chairperson of SELDA, and daughter of one of the original plaintiffs in the class suit filed against the Marcoses.

    A class action suit for 10,000 victims was initiated and filed by SELDA before the US Federal District Court System on April 7, 1986. The court ruled against the Marcos family on Sept. 22, 1992, finding the dictator guilty of crimes against humanity. The court ordered the Marcos family to pay an exemplary damages of US 1.9 billion and later, compensatory damages of US$776 million to the victims.

    Enriquez urged Aquino and both houses of Congress to accelerate the passage of the pending measures, as SELDA also expressed support for the Substitute Bill in the House of Representatives, while they have raised serious questions and objections with regards the Substitute Bill in the Senate.

    “The process of seeking justice and reparation is so tedious and extremely difficult for the victims of martial rule. The victims are now very old, sickly and dying, but the struggle for justice has no rest. Putting closure to a dark portion of the nation’s history must include rendering justice to victims of that era,” she concluded.#

    Reference: Marie Hilao Enriquez, Chairperson, SELDA (0917-5616800)

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    Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
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    KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties.  It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.

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