Sunday, February 13, 2005

NR0214:Salonga urged to investigate complaints of HR victims

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release February 14, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Email: paggawa@edsamail.com.ph, anakpawis2003@yahoo.com
Cellphone number 09213907362
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Rep. Beltran urges former Senate President Salonga to help investigate complaints of Marcos HR victims regarding continued denial of indemnification instead of blaming the victims

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that former senate president Jovito Salonga's accosting of Marcos human rights victims and defense of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was uncalled for.

"Why blame the victims? Justice continues to be denied them, and it was only through their painstaking and collective effort that their justified demand for indemnification has been heard. Governments after Marcos, however, continue to forge compromises with the Marcos heirs at the expense of the victims, and the delays in the release of the indemnification grow longer and longer. It's not at all the fault of the Marcos victims, and it's an insult that the goof former senate president would even imply such a thing," he said.

"If Mr. Salonga wants to blame anyone, it should be the so-called executors of the people's will, headed by President Arroyo. Their lack of sincere political will to go after the Marcoses and their ill-gotten wealth, and give the victims and the survivors their much-deserved indemnification is at the core of this problem," he said.

The veteran labor leader turned lawmaker said that instead of blaming the victims and survivors, former senate president Salonga should push for the immediate passage of the human rights compensation bill. He also urged Salonga to assist the long-standing and credible Marcos human right victims organizations in their campaign to have their members recognized and their demand for indemnification legitimized.

"Ex-senator Salonga should also investigate the complaints of the victims against House Committee chair on human rights Rep. Etta Rosales' maneuvers to compromise the interest of the victims by weakening the bill.

"There are over 9,500 human rights victims and survivors of the Marcos dictatorship who have already gone through the gauntlet in retelling their ordeal at the hands of dictatorship's mercenary forces. House Rep. Etta Rosales is insisting that the victims be made to account for themselves all over again and present proof that they are indeed legitimate claimants. The call of human rights groups of Marcos victims is to have their members automatically recognized. These victims are also plaintiffs in the class suit filed against the Marcoses in Hawaii, and the US court has already recognized their rights. If a foreign court has already recognized the victims, why is Rep. Rosales pushing that the victims go though the torturous and tedious process of documentation all over again?"

Beltran said that the release of financial indemnification was not was the victims were principally demanding, "But it's the most immediate and concrete form of justice that the government can give them. Memorials should be established in their name, and history books rewritten to include a more comprehensive and credible account of the dark years under martial law. At the onset however, indemnification should be given," he said. #

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