Martial law victims slam Aquino’s inaction on indemnification bill

“We are sick and tired of Noynoy Aquino’s lipservice! We don’t want to see Malacañang pointing its finger on the Senate, like it did to the judiciary on the case of extrajudicial killings. The Senate is party to the delay of the Bill’s approval but Noynoy can hasten its passage if he wants to,”

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Trinidad Herrera, arrested and detained during martial law, is angry.

With the recent death of three colleagues from Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda), Herrera criticized President Benigno Aquino III’s inaction on the passage of a bill seeking to indemnify the victims of the Marcos dictatorship.

In his 2011 State of the Nation Address, Aquino, son of former political prisoner Benigno Jr. who was commonly known as Ninoy, promised to provide compensation for victims of martial law.

A year after, the bill remains pending with the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The House of Representatives approved the bill on third reading in March this year.

“We are sick and tired of Noynoy Aquino’s lipservice! We don’t want to see Malacanang pointing its finger on the Senate, like it did to the judiciary on the case of extrajudicial killings. The Senate is party to the delay of the Bill’s approval but Noynoy can hasten its passage if he wants to,” Herrera, Selda board member, said.

In 1995, after the Federal Court of Hawaii found Marcos guilty of human rights abuses, it awarded $2 billion compensatory damages for 9,539 victims of martial who filed the historic class suit against the late dictator. A law is needed to mandate the government to allot a portion of the funds that would be sequestered from the Marcos family to the victims because the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law provides that all sequestered assets from the Marcos family would be utilized for the implementation of land reform.

“He’s a liar! His statements are only meant to improve his image,” Herrera said.

In the past two weeks, three leaders of Selda passed away due to sickness. Jose “Bong” Barsoles, 61 years old, chairman of Selda-National Capital Region on June 29; Romeo Luneta, 69, on July 9; and Margarita “Maita” Gomez on July 12. Luneta and Gomez were active board members of Selda at the time of their death.

“What is he waiting for, that we all die?” Herrera asked. “Aquino may still have four years of ‘pagpapapogi’ (trying to look good) but we don’t have the luxury of time to wait. It must be passed now!”

Selda members will join the protests on Monday as Aquino is set to deliver his third State of the Nation Address (Sona).

“For all of Aquino’s declarations and promises, in a span of two years, nothing has come out of the indemnification bill in the Senate. Mouthing assurances will not give us justice,” Bonifacio Ilagan, Selda vice chairman, said.

“We may be sick, but we will never tire of fighting for justice. Not even death can defeat our struggle, just as those who have gone ahead of us,” Ilagan said. ()

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