Martial law claims board nomination eyed closely by rights group

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson of human rights group Selda and Karapatan, is a victim and survivor of martial law atrocities interviewed by Felix 'Boy' Espineda, Jr, Editor during her visit to Sorsogon. PHOTO BY BICOLTODAY.COM
Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson of human rights group Selda and Karapatan, is a victim and survivor of martial law atrocities interviewed by Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr, Editor during her visit to Sorsogon. PHOTO BY BICOLTODAY.COM

By Joey Natividad
Special Correspondent

CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region ( – Human rights group Karapatan endorsed the list of nominees submitted by two groups involved on the Martial Law victims claim move whose nominees will comprise the claims board that will be created which will handle the compensation and damage claims by thousands of victims who had been persecuted under the Martial Law regime from September, 1972 to February 1986.

Karapatan said it is confident on the nominees of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) and Tanggol Bayi for the Human Rights Victims Claims Board, a body mandated by RA 10368 (Human Rights Violation Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013) to work on the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) and to process the victims’ applications for compensation.

The group has expressed worry that the selection of nominees might be cheated by other stakeholders, and may attempt to exclude nominees of Selda and Tanggol Bayi.

Earlier, SELDA and Tanggol Bayi submitted their nominees to the Office of the President on March 12. They are:

1. Ms. Amaryllis “Marie” Hilao-Enriquez – Marie, Chairperson of both Selda and Karapatan, is a survivor of martial law. From her student days at the University of the Philippines up to the present, she has remained a staunch human rights defender. Marie, as a prominent leader of SELDA, led the organization of former political prisoners in the filing and proceedings of the class action suit against the former dictator Marcos in the US Federal Court in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is the daughter of one of the original plaintiffs in the Hawaii class suit. She also led the victims and their kins in the active lobby work for the enactment into law of the compensation bill that would indemnify and recognize the victims of martial law.

2. Mr. Bonifacio P. Ilagan – Boni, a multi-awarded writer, was twice arrested (1974 and 1994), tortured, and imprisoned. Boni’s political activism is expressed, among others, through his writings. He is currently the Vice Chairperson of Selda, one of the mandated organizations under RA 10368 to submit nominations for the Human Rights Claims Board.

3. Former Representative Liza L. Maza – As a member of the House of Representatives for nine years, Liza introduced and advocated for the legislation of a law recognizing and indemnifying victims of Martial Law. Ms. Maza, together with representatives Satur Ocampo and the late Crispin Beltran, filed a version of the measure, with due consultations with the victims, their relatives and lawyers.

4. Prof. Judy Taguiwalo – Judy teaches at University of the Philippines. She heads the Department of Women and Development Studies of the College of Social Work and Community Development. She was a member of the UP Board of Regents from 2009-2010. She has an outstanding alumna award from the UP Alumni Association. She was detained twice, in 1973 and in 1984, where she gave birth inside prison. She is a board member of SELDA.

5. Dr. Edelina P. De la Paz – Dr. Delen is Associate Professor in the Dept. of Family Medicine at the UP College of Medicine. She is also Vice Chief of the Social Medicine Unit at the same university. Dr. Delen has been involved in various health and human rights related institutions and non-government organizations. She is a respected alumna of the UP College of Medicine.

6. Atty. Romeo D. Candazo – a former political detainee, Atty. Candazo is also a public servant having occupied various executive and legislative positions in the government. He is a journalist, an educator and lecturer at the UP, Ateneo and Maryknoll College. But, first and foremost, Atty. Candazo is a human rights lawyer.

7. Atty. Kit S. Enriquez – Atty. Kit is the President of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers-Cebu Chapter and a member of the Board of Directors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu from 2005-2011. Atty. Kit was arrested twice during martial law (1972 and 1975) and was heavily tortured by the military.

8. Atty. Dominador Lagare – Atty. Lagare hails from General Santos in Mindanao. He was appointed OIC Mayor of General Santos when Pres. Cory Aquino assumed presidency in 1986. He was a four-term city councilor of General Santos City. Atty. Lagare has been practicing law since 1973, doing pro bono work for victims of human rights violations in the General Santos and Saranggani provinces. He teaches Labor law and negotiable instruments at the Mindanao State University.

The newly-enacted law will set into motion the thousands of claims for damages by human rights victims under the Martial Law regime, and to indemnify the victims who were sticken out from the list of claimants who had been awarded earlier from the Hawaii litigation suit, and to victims who failed to apply for claims for damages.

The human rights group reminded the public that the martial law victims want the Human Rights Victims Claims Board should be composed by people with integrity, competence and probity and, who understand the plight of the victims.

“They should be people who have consistently defended human rights through the years. Their records as staunch human rights advocates are publicly known and acknowledged,” Cristina Palabay of Karapatan informed on Friday. “Karapatan stands by the nominees of Selda and Tanggol Bayi as its own; believing that the pursuit of justice for the victims of martial law shall be, mainly, in the hands of those who will compose the Claims Board.”

“In this light, we likewise call for a transparent and credible process that should be acceptable to the victims in selecting the members of the Board. We are concerned with the reports that reached Selda that, even at the onset, pertinent information on the nomination process and schedules were not made public. At the very least, Selda, should have been promptly informed of the procedure and deadline for submission of nominations. Selda is a known and recognized organization of victims of martial law and was cited in the Act as one of those which may nominate membership to the Claims Board,” Palabay said.

“We hope that this is not a foreshadowing of the possible exclusion of the nominees of Selda and Tanggol Bayi from the Human Rights Claims Board,” Palabay aired fears that the Board selection process might exclude nominees from Selda and Tanggol Bayi. []


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