Pay victims of abuses under Cory, too–Left
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO— While victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos dictatorship are getting compensation, those who suffered from the same kind of abuses under the rule of democracy icon Corazon Aquino should be compensated, too, according to a militant lawmaker.
Rep. Ariel Casilao, of the left-wing party-list group Anakpawis, said compensation is due families of 13 farmers who were killed during a land reform rally on Mendiola Bridge in Manila in the early days of Ms. Aquino’s rule.
The farmers were among hundreds in a rally on Jan. 22, 1987, who assembled on Mendiola to demand genuine land reform from Ms. Aquino who had made land reform her centerpiece program when she took over the government following the 1986 Edsa Revolution.
Casilao asked President Duterte to recognize the slain farmers as victims of human rights abuses, too.
Government recognition would entitle the families of Danilo Arjona, Leopoldo Alonzo, Adelfa Aribe, Dionisio Bautista, Roberto Caylao, Vicente Campomanes, Ronilo Dumunico, Dante Evangelio, Angelito Gutierrez, Rodrigo Grampan, Bernabe Laquindanum, Sonny Boy Perez and Roberto Yumul to compensation similar to reparations given martial law victims through Republic Act No. 10368 (the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013), Casilao said in a statement.
“If it was done for the rights victims of martial law, it is possible for the victims of Mendiola Massacre,” Casilao said.
He said it would be important to recognize that there were victims of rights abuses not only during the Marcos dictatorship but under Ms. Aquino, too.
The deaths of 13 farmers on Mendiola, who were killed when anti-riot policemen opened fire, should not be forgotten “especially as it was carried out under Ms. Aquino who promised that land reform is her centerpiece program,” said Casilao at a rally on Jan. 20 to commemorate the killings on Mendiola, now Don Chino Roces Bridge.
The massacre victims, most of them from Central and Southern Luzon, were killed when policemen and soldiers dispersed a farmers rally that was approaching Malacañang.
Compensation for those who died and were wounded in the violent dispersal had been recommended by the Citizens’ Mendiola Commission, which was formed by the first Aquino administration to investigate the deaths.
But in a 1993 ruling, the Supreme Court sitting en banc dismissed the petition for compensation. —TONETTE OREJAS
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