SELDA demands indemnification for martial law victims

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Two decades have passed, but victims of human rights violations under martial law have yet to receive the indemnification ordered by a Hawaii court.

The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) has called on Congress to automatically recognize up to 10,000 victims of human rights violations who won a class suit filed in Hawaii against the Marcoses in 1992. The Hawaii court ordered the payment of $1.2 billion in damages to the victims. SELDA appealed to the Congressional committee in charge of drafting the final version of the law on compensation.

One of the obstacles to the law’s finalization is the Senate version which requires the victims to prove their status as victims. This requirement disregards the efforts of the victims and their families to obtain justice. They will be compelled to relive the difficult and painful process of proving that their rights were trampled on during martial law.

Another obstacle is a proposition by Sen. Joker Arroyo and Rep. Walden Bello not to include those who advanced armed struggle and had their rights violated (such as those who became victims of extrajudicial killing). This likewise disregards the right of the Filipino people to resist a tyrannical regime through various means.

The compensation will come from a portion of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth worth P10 billion returned by Swiss authorities to the Philippine government. The current regime is keen on using the amount for its own interests.