Martial law victims will not ‘forgive and forget’ the Marcoses

While PCGG proposes to end pursuit of Marcos ill-gotten wealth

“We cannot just ‘forgive and forget’ what the Marcoses did to us, nor must the Aquino government stop pursuing justice for martial law victims and the rest of the Filipinos.” Thus said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto or SELDA in response to the Philippine Commission on Good Government head Andres Bautista’s statement that the PCGG should stop going after the Marcos ill-gotten wealth.

“Has the state done enough to say that they have done their best?” Enriquez asked. “What is glaring is every government that sat after the Marcoses have done nothing to gain back the billions of pesos stolen by the dictator, his family and cronies from the coffers of the Philippine government.  What was said in the PDI news that ‘despite numerous criminal and civil cases being filed against them, none of the Marcos heirs or their cronies, who have been accused of plundering government coffers, have so far been successfully prosecuted, while high-powered lawyers have been used to tie up the judicial process for years on end.’ They have only succeeded in entering into compromise deals that has allowed the Marcoses to stay in power.” 

Imelda Marcos is representative of Ilocos Norte, Imee is its governor while Bongbong is senator. Both mother and daughter are expected to run in the 2013 elections, while Bongbong is eyeing the presidency in 2016.

“After winning the historic class suit of martial law victims against the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, where he was found guilty of committing human rights abuses against 9,539 individuals who fought the dictatorship, not one among the Marcoses, their henchmen and cronies were put behind bars.” Enriquez lamented.

Selda added that the current proposal to stop going after the Marcos ill-gotten wealth is a declaration that the PNoy government has given up on taking on the challenge of even ending the political careers of the Marcoses. “It’s the ill-gotten wealth that’s still with the Marcoses that have allowed them to run, win and stay in power, election after election. This statement is quite alarming as it also says that the governments after the Aquino administration cannot go after it if corruption incidents happen during its incumbency or for any administrations, for that matter. Ano, tutunganga na lang tayo at hahayaan na lang natin ang mga yan na mangunyapit sa pwesto at gastusin ang pera ng bayan para mangurakot muli? (Will we just sit around and watch them cling on to power and use the people’s money to steal again?)” stated Trinidad Herrera, Selda board member.

At the same time, SELDA warned of a quid pro qou now that the Marcos Victims’ Compensation Bill is set for bicameral committee debates. “A law that will help give reparation to martial law victims is not the be all and end all of our pursuit for justice, it is only a battle won in our lifetime of struggle. It cannot replace what we have always wanted to achieve: to see the Marcoses, their henchmen and cronies account for their transgressions and return all the wealth stolen from the Filipinos back to where it rightfully belongs.” Enriquez declared.

Finally, SELDA promised to continue their struggle for justice for all victims of martial law and the rest of the Filipinos. “If the government has given up that easily, then it is hard for the people to depend on the government to protect the rights of the Filipinos. It’s bad enough that they are declaring to give up on pursuing the Marcos ill-gotten wealth, to leave the Marcoses to maintain status quo is twice as alarming. An omen to us that those in power can take all that they can from the  country’s coffers and blatantly kill and maim those who wish to stop them. Never again must the Filipino people allow that to happen. We must  continue to fight for our rights as a people,”  SELDA members concluded.