Lawmaker won’t file claim for rights violations
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines–Pampanga Rep. Oscar Rodriguez, who was arrested and detained for his involvement in the underground movement during the early years of martial rule, and local newspaper editor Caesar Lacson, who was hunted by the military, are not filing reparation claims as victims of human rights violations.
Rodriguez, a lawyer, said there was “no price for fighting the dictatorship and its repression of civil liberties,” referring to the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, who imposed martial rule on Sept. 21, 1972.
Known by his aliases “Ka Jasmin” and “Nelson Fabros,” Rodriguez said it was enough that his name be enshrined in the roll of human rights violations victims (HRVVs) under Republic Act No. 10368, or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act. President Aquino signed the law in February 2013.
Military men arrested Rodriguez in his house in December 1973 and detained him at the Philippine Constabulary headquarters in the provincial capitol here and in Camp Olivas for almost a year. In prison, Rodriguez wrote the petitions of his fellow inmates.
A classmate, former Deputy Director General Ramsey Ocampo of the Philippine National Police, and lawyer Zoilo Andin, husband of his former teacher, helped secure his release.
The name of Lacson, a youth organizer who wrote antigovernment articles, was stricken off the list of military targets through the intervention of San Fernando Archbishop Emeritus Paciano Aniceto.
Lacson, editor of Punto Central Luzon, finds the process of seeking reparation tedious and the documentary requirements too many as the November deadline for claims nears. Like Rodriguez, he prefers recognition to compensation.
Isagani Serrano, a former detainee, has described RA 10368 as a “landmark legislation” because it formally recognizes the use of torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, warrantless arrests, forced disappearances and other forms of curtailing free will during martial rule.
The monetary and nonmonetary assistance assured by the law could help HRVVs and their families move on, its proponents said. The law covers the period from Sept. 21, 1972, to Feb. 25, 1986, when the Edsa People Power Revolution ousted Marcos.
“The State hereby acknowledges its moral and legal obligation to recognize and/or provide reparation to said victims and/or their families for the deaths, injuries, sufferings, deprivations and damages they suffered under the Marcos regime,” the law states.
“Similarly, it is the obligation of the State to acknowledge the sufferings and damage inflicted upon persons whose properties or businesses were forcibly taken over, sequestered or used, or those whose professions were damaged and/or impaired, or those whose freedom of movement was restricted and/or such other victims of the violations of the Bill of Rights.”–Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon
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