BS Aquino should be the one investigated, instead of LGU’s – Camp Crame political prisoners

“When Pres. Aquino was lambasted by foreign media for his absence of leadership and lack of resolve during the time of grave crisis, he had the gall to order that the mayor of Tacloban City be investigated when he (BS Aquino) should be charged with criminal neglect and incompetence,“ said the political prisoners in Camp Crame, Quezon City in reaction to BS Aquino’s threat to investigate Tacloban Mayor and other local government units for the casualties in the aftermath of the super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan).

A letter of appeal from political prisoner Ramon Patriarca to Cebu Governor Davide

September 19, 2013


Dear friends,

As I approach my fifth year of unjust detention, I would like to once again appeal for your support to my call since January 2012 that I be immediately removed from solitary confinement and unconditionally transferred to a civilian facility.  As it is now, I am the only one among the 400+ political prisoners nationwide languishing in a military camp.


Break free from pork: political prisoners add voice to people's rage against pork, score corruption in gov’t

"From within prison walls, political prisoners are not unaware of the people’s rage against bureaucratic corruption," said Ramon Patriarca, detained peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.  
In a statement sent to Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) Patriarca cited President Aquino's pork, and " how billions more of the Malampaya and other presidential pork are pocketed through ghost projects. Of how billions upon billions of annual budget under Malacanang are ‘spent’-bereft of any transparency and the demands of accountability-under the cloak of presidential discretion and presumption of regularity." 

Break free from pork: political prisoners suggest alternative use of pork

Political prisoners today launched “Break free from pork”, a nationwide protest against the pork barrel system, to join hands with the rest of the Filipino people calling for the abolition of the pork barrel system. 

From Metro Manila, Bicol, Bohol, Cebu, Misamis Oriental, and Bukidnon,  political prisoners’ action ranged from noise barrage, fasting, wearing of armbands with “no to pork barrel” slogan, distribution of leaflets on the pork barrel issue among inmates.  

SELDA members troop to Malacanang, assail Noynoy Aquino’s inaction on RA 10368

Members of the Samahan ng Ex-detainees laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) together with the surviving victims of human rights violations during martial law and their relatives trooped to Chino Roces (formerly Mendiola) Bridge to express their grievances and assailed the continued inaction of the Aquino administration in implementing the Human Rights Victims Recognition and Reparation Act of 2013 otherwise known as RA 10368. 

SELDA mob Sept1013 SELDA ML victims die-in

Whatever happened to the Board to process claims of martial law victims?

Rights group SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) questioned the Aquino government’s failure to form the Human Rights Victims Claims Board which will process the application for reparation and recognition of martial law victims.
“It has been two months since Pres. Aquino signed the bill into law. What is taking the government so long to take the initial step to implement the law? Are the martial law victims in for a very long wait again?” SELDA national coordinator Roneo Clamor asked.

Martial Law victims denounce PCGG chair’s declaration to give up claims

“Malicious, irresponsible and anti-people” 

Amid the good news of the ratification of the bill to compesante martial law victims, members of the human rights group SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) deplored the “malicious, irresponsible and anti-people” statements made by Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chairman Andres Bautista over the weekend that the martial law victims should consider giving up their claims in the class suit filed in Hawaii, now that a bill to give compensation to human rights victims is set to be enacted into law.

“We are exasperated, disappointed and angry at such malicious and irresponsible statements made by PCGG chair Andres Bautista. Why should we give up the claims when the award is based on the judgement that the Marcos dictatorship is guilty of crimes against humanity, and therefore the Marcoses are accountable for the human rights violations committed under their reign?” said Martial Law victim and SELDA chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez.

Enriquez also said that the Hawaii court judgment is final and executory.

“The victims are happy that this has become a landmark decision for victims of human rights violations the world over.  The entire Filipino nation must be proud of that and now Mr. Bautista is again squandering the chance to go after the violators! We have never heard of any public apology from the Marcoses after so many years, now Bautista is telling us to give up this meager amount to compensate the victims?” she said.  

On September 22, 1992, the Hawaii Federal Court through Judge Manuel Real, issued a judgment on the class suit in favor of the Marcos victims. The said decision found Marcos guilty of gross human rights violations and the Estate of Marcos is liable to pay damages to the victims.

SELDA’s chairperson explained that the bill’s passage here in the legislative halls of the country is entirely different from the class suit that the 9,539 Martial Law victims filed in a Hawaii district court after the fall of Marcos in 1986.

“Bautista does not know what he is talking about. The Human Rights Victims Recognition and Reparation Bill, when enacted into law, will be the government’s mechanism to give recognition and reparation to victims of Martial Law. Since the fall of the dictator in 1986, the victims waited for the administrations after Marcos to go after the conjugal dictatorship and their cohorts, and make them accountable for the HRV’s committed during martial law.  But no one did. The victims were the only ones who braved the systems, the Marcos maneuvers, the machinations of American and Filipino lawyers who supposedly helped the victims. It was they who fought steadfastly until they won a landmark case in a foreign court. Now it is being robbed again from them, “ Enriquez declared.

The group also called Bautista “anti-people,” in reacton to his statement that ill-gotten wealth by the Marcoses belong to the Filipino people.

“Bautista talks as if we are not part of the Filipino people who fought the dictator. The Swiss Supreme Court was clear in its order that the victims of Martial Law who filed charges against Marcos in the Hawaiian court must be considered by the Philippine government once the latter moves the recovered funds that were in an escrow account,” she said.

Enriquez also clarified that only one-third of the original total funds transferred from Switzerland and handed over to the Philippine government were asked by the victims as they fully know that the amount was gotten from the national coffers.

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.

“Lt. Gen. Bautista is lying” - SELDA

On the Army chief’s statement that Palparan is the last of his kind

The recent statement made by Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, the chief of the Philippine Army drew ire from members of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainee Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto  (SELDA).

“Lt. Gen. Bautista is lying. There are clones of Palparan in the AFP because it breeds the likes of Palparan. It’s not about dishing out phrases like ‘respect for human rights’. It’s about actual rights violations being committed by the AFP and its paramilitary forces,” said Angie Ipong, Selda Secretary General.

Selda said that illegal arrest, torture and other grave forms of human rights violations continue under the Aquino government Oplan Bayanihan. Activists and even civilians continue to become victims of trumped-up charges as the military tries to beat its deadline to end the “insurgency”.

The recent arrest of Rolly Panesa on October 5 is a proof that people are arrested arbitrarily, and on mere suspicion that he is an ‘enemy of the state’ and based on trumped up charges, in violation of his rights.  

Panesa, a security guard, was illegally arrested by joint elements of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, led by Southern Luzon Commander Maj. General Alan Luga, and the Philippine National Police. He was severely tortured because the military misidentified him for a certain “Benjamin Mendoza,” supposedly the secretary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Southern Luzon, with a reward of PhP 5.6 million.

Marites Chioco, Panesa’s live-in partner was also abducted, with her daughter and son-in-law. Chioco was forced to admit that she is ‘Ka Luisa’ whom the military claimed as “Mendoza’s” wife.  It was Chioco who saw Panesa blindfolded while his cheeks were bruised, his mouth was swollen and lower jaw pushed in. Panesa’s right ear was also bleeding because of heavy beatings. Rolly Panesa is currently detained at the Security Intensive Care Area (SICA), Metro Manila District Jail in Taguig City for rebellion and frustrated murder.

What should we expect from the Aquino regime about the stalled peace talks and the repression of detained NDF peace consultants?

by ALAN JAZMINES, detained NDF consultant
PNP Custodial Center, Camp Crame, 29 March 2012

We wonder if the administration of Benigno S. Aquino III does enough of serious consideration and work to really promote and push the peace talks, and if indeed it really is interested in the peace process at all. Several indications seem to show the opposite.

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