“We salute the Martial Law heroes who, despite old age, sickness, maneuvers of the Marcoses, and all other obstacles along the way, have painstakingly stood and fought to make sure that this bill granting reparation and recognition to the martial law victims is passed. We have gone a long way. We have long fought for this,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA chairperson and a Martial Law victim herself.
Yesterday, the bicameral conference committee has hammered out the final version of the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, formerly known as the Marcos victims compensation bill, provisions of which became acceptable to the majority of the victims as the final version now included SELDA’s position .
“In welcoming the final version, we remember the SELDA leaders who pursued the path of making the Marcoses accountable for the human rights violations they committed to the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who fought martial law. SELDA remember and salute the bravery and memories of Don Chino Roces, founding chairman of SELDA, Dean Armando Malay, Dr. Nemesio Prudente, former Navy Capt. Danilo Vizmanos, Atty. Jose Mari Velez, Atty. Rolando Olalia – Board members who decided to go after Marcos after the dictator’s downfall and died in the succeeding months and years after filing the class action suit in 1986; and the steadfastness of Fidel Agcaoili, Juliet De Lima-Sison, Vicente Ladlad , Dean Francisco Nemenzo, Tita Lubi, Josephine Dongail, Doris Baffrey – Board members who are still alive; and and the tireless efforts of Atty. Romeo Capulong, SELDA legal counsel when Atty. Jose Mari Velez died in 199, to assist the victims and SELDA in the twists and turns of the case, the maneuverings of Imelda Marcos and the machinations of the American and other Filipino lawyers in the case. We should also dedicate this bill to all the heroes and martyrs of Martial Law who have gone before us and waged the most determined fight against the dictatorship and suffered the worst violations during martial law. This bill is a small effort of SELDA to ensure that their sacrifice shall not be put to waste,” Enriquez said.
Among the positive provisions approved that were pushed by SELDA was the inclusion of the “conclusive presumption” provision as human rights violations victims for the 9,539 victims who filed and won the historic class suit of Martial Law victims against the Marcoses filed in 1986 in Hawaii.
“The bill’s passage is a victory not only for the victims but for the Filipino people. More than the monetary compensation, the bill represents the only formal, written document that martial law violated the human rights of Filipinos and that there were courageous people who fought the dictatorship.
SELDA, meanwhile, said that with the bill now ready for ratification by Congress, the victims should make sure that the law, when put into in effect, should be fully implemented.
Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA chairperson 0917-5616800