Martial Law Victims Welcome Distribution of Funds from Settlement Agreement with Marcos Crony, Renew Call for Passage of Compensation Bill (PR)

January 14, 2011

The Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), the organization of ex-detainees formed under Martial Law Period which led the 9, 539 victims under the Martial Law period and initiated the filing of the historic class action suit against former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos and family, today welcomed the news on US District Judge Manuel Real’s approval of the distribution of funds from the settlement agreement by the Campos family, a Marcos crony.

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“We welcome the news that, for the first time since the victims’ victory in the historic class action suit in the Federal District Court Hawaii in 1992, finally, a component of justice, which is indemnification, can be served to some of the victims of Martial Law. This move actually signifies the victory of Martial Law victims in their struggle to obtain justice and recognition for their fight for human rights,” former Rep. Satur Ocampo, National Board member of SELDA and one of the 9,539 victims in the class action suit against Marcos in the US.

Ocampo said the money that will be distributed to the victims will come from the $10M settlement by the Campos family, a Marcos crony, with the victims.”The settlement has proven the very well known fact that the Marcoses stashed money from the people’s coffers and allowed dummies and cronies to hold these for them. This is a vindication for the victims and the Filipino people’s fight against corruption of the hated conjugal dictatorship,” he added.

“The settlement also shows the government that indeed indemnification can be given to the victims as the cronies are now settling these ages-old transgressions. It is a call to the government to likewise serve justice to the victims of Martial Law by finally enacting into law the Marcos Victims Compensation measures (House Bills 954 and 1693) filed by Bayan Muna. It must be borne in mind that the recovery of the $640M fund transferred by the Swiss government to the Philippine government in 1998 and ordered transferred by the Philippine Supreme Court to the national treasury in 2003 was realized because of the victims’ struggle to hold the Marcoses accountable for human rights violations,” Ocampo further asserted.

While SELDA welcomes the news on the distribution of funds to the victims, they called on Atty. Robert Swift, as the court-appointed legal counsel of the victims, to explain and answer the various questions raised by the victims here in the country:

1) Why only $7.5M dollars out of the approved $10M settlement will be
distributed to the victims;

2) Why only 7,526 of the 9,539 victims will get indemnified from the settlement;

3) Who and when was the number of 7,526 victims approved.

“While we recognize the efforts of Atty. Swift on identifying and going after crony money of the Marcoses, we raise questions as to how he has considered the victims’ views on the case. Initially, SELDA opposed the settlement based on these questions we raised to the court-appointed counsel. We hope that the settlement will pave the way for government to finally enact the Marcos Victims Compensation bills so that the Martial Law victims will finally get the justice, indemnification and recognition they fully deserve,” Ocampo concluded.

The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA)-Philippines is an organization of former political detainees in the country. Founded in December 4, 1984, SELDA was initiated by former political prisoners during the Martial Law period. It works for the unconditional release of all political prisoners and humane treatment of those who are still in detention; for the advocacy on the conditions of political prisoners, the fundamental reasons for their arrest and detention, and their struggle for justice; mobilization of resources for political prisoners and their families; legislative actions on the indemnification and rehabilitation of political detainees; and promotion of partnerships and solidarity with organizations for the freedom and welfare of political prisoners and victims of tyranny.

Former Rep. Satur Ocampo, SELDA National Board member
Fr. Dionito Cabillas, SELDA Secretary General

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