Karapatan welcomes passage of bill against disappearances and bill on the compensation of Martial Law victims

Karapatan welcomes the long-overdue passage of the bills against enforced or involuntary disappearances and the measure legislating and enforcing the compensation of Martial Law victims, House Bills 98 and 5990 respectively, at the House of Representatives.

Such measures are a fruition of the victims and their relatives’ arduous and persevering struggle against human rights violations, under the tyrannical regimes of Marcos up to Arroyo’s rule, whose legacies of terror and violence continue up to the present administration of Benigno Aquino III.

We seek the immediate passage of similar counterpart versions of the bills at the Senate and the eventual signing of the measures into law. This is important for the victims under Martial Law who, for more than two decades, have overcome the manipulations of the Marcoses to belie the occurrence of extrajudicial killings, disappearances and numerous human rights violations during that dark period in the country’s history.

Likewise, the definition and penalization of the crime of enforced or involuntary disappearances through the bill remains equally significant, as this horrid violation continues to this date, with nine victims of enforced disappearances under the Aquino administration. It is a pity that the measure has only been passed by the Lower House after 206 individuals had fallen victims to such a crime under the Arroyo administration.  We henceforth challenge the HOR to support the victims’ efforts in prosecuting and arresting Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr., one of the most rabid criminals who promoted and implemented the crime of enforced disappearances.