19 February 2007
The Palace Proclamation 1235 asserts that a number of very important bills that have failed ratification this 13th Congress can no longer afford to wait for the 14th Congress. Going through the legislative grind could take another three tedious years which becomes such a waste of time.
We could not agree more. It becomes a crime to the people when bills that had been drafted with their active and steadfast participation and lobby in the past nine years should once again be shoved and shelved without rhyme or reason.
In this case, we refer to the human rights compensation bill for martial law victims, filed as early as the 11th Congress in 1998 but failed to pass the 11th and 12th Congresses. In the 13th Congress we reached a bicameral conference agreement and signed the Conference Report. It was ratified by the Senate but failed to get House ratification before the Congress adjourned last February 8, 2007.
The reasons for ratification cannot be spelled more clearly.
ð The transfer of the ill-gotten wealth of Marcos to the Philippine coffers was anchored on two considerations by the Swiss Supreme Court in a 1997 ruling: 1) that the money would be judged with finality as ill-gotten and 2) that a fair share would be given the martial law victims for compensation. The first has been decided in 2003 when the Philippine Supreme Court ruled with finality that the $500+ million Marcos money (now $683 million) transferred from the Swiss banks was ill-gotten. The second consideration can be realized with the passage of the bill into law.
ð With the passage of the bill into law, as pointed out by the President herself in a meeting in Malacanang last 2004, the act would be a significant step forward in the process of healing the wounds of martial rule and would in fact manifest the spirit of EDSA 1 which we shall celebrate on 24 and 25 of February.
ð Like the repeal of the death penalty law, the compensation law will be heralded by the international human rights and diplomatic community as testimony to the continuing struggle to inculcate human rights as a policy in Philippine legislation and is much needed in enhancing our position as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
ð With the United Nations Rapporteur on extra-judicial killings, Philip Alston, in the Philippines today, the passage of the bill could not be more relevant than ever in the difficult effort for government to address gross violations of human rights taking place today.
ð And most important, the Philippines as a member of the United Nations and a party to international human rights instruments on human rights, has a legal a moral obligation to compensate the thousands of victims of human rights violations of martial rule as a major step towards healing the wounds of the past and restoring their human dignity and humanity as persons and people.
We urge the President and the Speaker of the House to prioritize the ratification of the human rights compensation bill in the special session that convenes on 19 and 20 of February. It is the best gift we can give the thousands of victims, many of whom offered their lives in the struggle against dictatorial rule and the restoration of human rights and democracy. On 24 and 25 February, we shall once again commemorate the dreams of EDSA which, up to now remain unresolved. This is one chance that opens to us once more. Let us not fail them this time.
Etta P. Rosales
Akbayan holds mass for Marcos victims and passage of compensation bill
February 19, 2007
Akbayan party-list today held a mass at the South Wing lobby of the House of Representatives to commemorate the victims of the Marcos regime in line with the pending approval of the compensation bill into law.
"We ask the Hosue leadership to prioritize the passage of the bicameral conference committee report and ratify the comensation bill as the Senate has done to enact it into law," said Akbayan Rep. Etta Rosales. "To come this close and have to go through the process all over again if the House fails to act on the measure would be a great disservice to the Marcos victims."
"With the passage of the bill into law, as pointed out by the President herself in a meeting in Malacanang last 2004," reminded Rosales, "the act would be a significant step forward in the process of healing the wounds of martial rule and would in fact manifest the spirit of EDSA 1 which we shall celebrate on February 25."
"We hope that the House realizes the importance of this measure and follows through on its commitment to help achieve jstice for the Marcos victims," Rosales added.
Members of Claimants 1081 also attended the mass to reiterate their call for justice, rmeinding the public that the compensation bill is not the end of that pursuit, but merely the first and most tangible step so far in that direction.
"But without state recognition of this historical error and the grave injustices that Martial Law imposed on Filipinos, we will never be able to move on," added Rosales.
Link: "Special Session" ni Ate Glo, MAGKANO?
John Vincent S. Cruz (VINCENT)
Media Officer, Office of Rep. Loretta Ann P. Rosales
AKBAYAN sa KONGRESO
South Wing, Rm. 511 House of Representatives
Batasan Pambansa, Quezon City 1126
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