Defending human rights victims of martial law is beyond lip service said Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, principal author and sponsor of the law compensating victims of martial law under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
In an interview in ABS-CBN’s Bandila news program last Monday night (April 4), Escudero said his track record speaks for itself when it comes to giving justice to victims of the dark days of oppression during the Marcos regime.
“Ako ang pangunahing author at sponsor ng batas na nagsasabing dapat magbayad ng kompensasyon sa human rights victims.Hindi naman lahat nadadaaan lang sa salita,” explained Escudero, son of the late Salvador Escudero III who served as minister of agriculture during the Marcos administration and under the Ramos presidency.
“Kapag may nagawa ka na, siguro dapat yung nagawa mo should speak for itself,” he stressed.
The compensation bill was passed by the Senate Committee on Justice under Escudero’s chairmanship in 2013.
“Bakit ipinasa ko yung batas na nagpapabayad ng kompensasyon sa human rights victims? Twenty-five years pending sa Kongreso ‘yun. Noong naging chairman ako ng Committee on Justice, doon lamang naipasa yun, miyembro na ng Senado si Senator Marcos,” Escudero said when asked about his supposed silence on the issue of human rights violations committed during the Marcos dictatorship.
President Aquino signed the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 during the 27th anniversary of the uprising that toppled the Marcos dictatorship in 1986.
Under the law, the amount of compensation to be awarded to the victims is proportionate to the gravity of the offense inflicted on them through a point system that is a basic component of the law.
Victims who died or who disappeared are given 10 points, while those tortured and, or sexually abused gets from six to nine points, for instance.
On the other hand, political detainees get from three to five points while those who can prove that their rights were violated under the Act are awarded from one to two points.
During the Bandila interview, Escudero also said that Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. should apologize for the human rights abuses during his father’s regime.
Escudero also supported calls for the Marcoses to return their alleged ill-gotten wealth to the state./Office of Senator Chiz Escudero