By Gerry Albert Corpuz
MANILA, Philippines- A fisherfolk victim of human rights violations during the 14-year old dictatorship of the late strongmanwants a honest-to-goodness explanation from the Commission on Human Rights and American lawyer Robert Swift why his name and more than 2,000 others were removed from the list of claimants.
“The issue here is beyond the P 43,000 compensation each human rights victim will receive from the $ 7.5 million from a settlement case arising from the Marcos family’s ill-gotten wealth.
The issue here is the summary denial of more than 2,000 Marcos human rights victims who want to be recognized as victims and therefore entitle to a priceless virtue and aspiration known as justice and that includes me and thousands of my colleagues who suffered under the US-backed Marcos dictatorship,” said Isabelo Alicaya, national council member of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) in a press statement.
Alicaya said he was informed by the district coordinator of Samahan ng Ex-Detainee Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) in Batangas that his name was not included in the list of 7,526 claimants for failing to fulfill all the requirements.
Alicaya, a fisherfolk activist way back in the mid 70s founded SM 79, a militant fisherfolk group which had its’ roots in Barangay San Diego, Lian, Batangas. The organization became the backbone of Haligi ng Batanguenong Anakdagat (Habagat) which is the provincial chapter of Pamalakaya.
According to Alicaya, the last correspondence he received in connection with the class suit filed against the Marcos family arising from gross human rights violations during the Marcos era was in 1991.
“They said those more than 2,000 claimants who were delisted from the original list of 9,539 claimants failed to notify the lawyers handling the case about their present addresses, but how come in case, me and my family did not transfer residence, yet the last correspondence we received from the lawyers was 20 years ago. CHR chairperson Etta Rosales and Atty. Swift owe us an explanation.
The delisting of my name and 2,000 others as human rights claimants erased our identities as those who suffered from the brutal regime of Marcos and forfeit our rights to claim justice and compensation from the Marcos clan. This is beyond the P 43,000 financial compensation, this is all about recognition and the long-deserved justice from our Martial law bred oppressors,” Alicaya said.
Since March 1, victims of human rights violations under the iron rule of the ex-President Marcos started flooding the Commission on Human Rights headquarters in Quezon City for the distribution of their monetary compensation.
Those who came were among the 7,526 claimants who have benefited from the ruling of Judge Manuel Real of the US District Court of Hawaii last January ordering the distribution of $7.5 million from a settlement case with a Texas and Colorado properties said to have been bought by the Marcoses allegedly using their ill-gotten money.
In a letter dated Feb. 7, 2011, Atty. Swift informed the claimants they could get their checks beginning March 1. Claimants should bring a copy of the letter, along with two valid identification cards, to get their compensation. #