Martial Law victims warned of modus operandi vs just indemnification

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March 26 2013

Part of the modus operandi, Enriquez noted, is that these bogus groups are mobilizing people to claim themselves as Martial Law victims.  The individuals who are persuaded are then collected with information and fees, promising them of a hefty amount that they are supposed to receive from the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth.

By DANILDA L. FUSILERO
Davao Today

KIDAPAWAN CITY, Cotabato, Philippines — Martial Law victims are wary of scams that will rob them of just indemnification.

Citing reports that reached their national and regional offices, Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Selda (Samahan ng Ex-Detainess Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) chairperson, told davaotoday.com that groups identified as Bullion and Firm (Friends of Imelda Romualdez-Marcos) have been approaching the victims to supposedly represent them in their reparation claims under the recently approved Human Rights Violation Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 (R.A. 10368).

The law which was signed last February 25 recognized the “atrocities and human rights violations” during the Marcos dictatorship and obliged the government to recognize and give reparation to rights victims.

Part of the modus operandi, Enriquez noted, is that these bogus groups are mobilizing people to claim themselves as Martial Law victims.  The individuals who are persuaded are then collected with information and fees, promising them of a hefty amount that they are supposed to receive from the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth.

“We’ve been fighting this legal battle for so long, the legitimate victims must be indemnified for what they’ve gone through,” Enriquez said during the Selda and Karapatan’s consultation on RA 10368 here on Sunday.

She emphasized that those who are included in the master list of the 9,539 claimants and those who will file their claims should be “those who were genuinely part of the struggle of the Martial Law.”

Enriquez said that legitimate victims bravely fought for justice during the Marcos dictatorship with thousands who experienced torture, arrest and detention and other forms of violations, while many others were summarily executed and disappeared.

Long battle

While warning her fellow victims with such scams, Enriquez scored the Aquino government for not putting the victims’ reparation on its top priority.

Ang mga  biktima ang naghirap na mag-file ng class suit sa Hawaii upang papanagutin ang mga Marcoses na syang naging batayan ng Swiss Federal Court para ibalik dito ang nakaw na yaman ng mga Marcos, pero hanggang ngayon ni limang-pisong duling ay di parin nakatanggap ang mga biktima,” Enriquez said.

Selda led the filing of the “historic class suit” by Martial Law victims against former president Ferdinand Marcos in a Hawaii court.  They won and the court ordered exemplary and compensatory damages for the plaintiffs.

In 1997, amidst continuing actions to recall the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth, the Swiss Federal Court returned over USD 683 Million under an escrow account at the Philippine National Bank.  The Swiss court ordered that the returned money be used for the indemnification of the Martial Law victims.

In 2003, the Philippine Supreme Court ruled out that the Swiss deposit is part of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth ordering its transfer to the national treasury.  But because  the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) provides that  all  ill-gotten wealth proceeds shall be used for the country’s agrarian program, the bulk of the money were already used for Carp and other related purposes.

To date, a remaining PHP 10 Billion is still in escrow and with the passage of RA 10368, which automatically amended Carp Law’s pertinent provision on sole use of ill-gotten wealth, thousands of Martial Law victims raised optimism to be finally indemnified.

“From the start we all know that the government (from Cory down to his son Noynoy) was never serious in running after the Marcoses.  Kami yong naghirap at ngayong naibalik na ang nakaw na pera, nanakaw pa sa corrupt-ridden Carp program at mukhang mananakaw pa ulit sa amin ng mga scams,” Enriquez said.

Lawyer Carlos Isagani Zarate, Bayan Muna second nominee, shared Enriquez’s apprehension.  However, he stressed that the law which Bayan Muna fought in years at the Congress is essentially intended to recognize the heroism of Martial Law victims.

Hindi lang ito usaping bayad o indemnification of the victims’ sufferings, but this is for every Filipino to know, specially the youth and international community, that during the Martial Law years of Marcos — a gross, massive and systematic human rights violations predominantly existed,” Zarate said.

Continuing struggle

With RA 10368 just passed, the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) has been set for discussion.

Selda Board Member Eliza Tita Lubi said that on March 12, they already submitted the names of their nominees to the Office of the President for the possible inclusion to the Human Rights Victims Claims Board, the body mandated to work on the IRR and to process the application of the victims for compensation.

Lubi said they want to insure that RA 10368 “will be implemented for the interests of the victims.”

Among the nominees are martial law survivors Hilao-Enriquez, Prof. Bonifacio Ilagan, lawyer Kit Enriquez, Prof. Judy Taguiwalo; human rights lawyers Romeo Candazo and Dominador Lagare; and former Rep. Liza Maza.

“We are confident that they possess the qualifications required by law and if appointed, the personalities we are submitting for nominations will do honor and work for the interests of the victims of Martial Law and see to it that this law will redound to the victims’ benefits,” said Selda secretary general Angie Ipong.

The salient provision of RA 10368 include: conclusive recognition of the massive human rights violations during the Martial Law years; monetary and non-monetary reparation; and installation of Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission that will ensure integration of Martial Law atrocities in the curricula of all levels of education.  (Danilda L. Fusilero/davaotoday.com)

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