Law to compensate martial law victims

Feb. 25, 2013 at 1:10 PM
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MANILA, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Victims of human rights violations during years of martial law will receive compensation under a law approved Monday by the Philippine president, officials say.

President Benigno Aquino III signed the bill during the 27th anniversary of the "people power" revolution that toppled strongman Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippine Star reported.

Rep. Neri Colmenares, an author of the bill who was himself tortured during Marcos' period of martial law, called the signing "a victorious day for those who have awaited and fought for the state's recognition of their suffering under martial law," GMA News reported.

Victims will receive nearly $246 million from wealth acquired by Marcos and his wife Imelda during his dictatorship.

Marcos was overthrown in 1986.

Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, a co-author of the bill, said it was recognition of "a heroism that rang across hills and blazed through the streets of this country" during martial law.

Sen. Francis Escudero, who sponsored the measure as chairman of the Senate committee on justice and civil rights, said the law "seeks to give justice to victims of the dark days of oppression and hopefully give an assurance that it will never happen again."

While praising the law, SELDA, a group that filed a class action lawsuit against the Marcoses in Hawaii, said in a statement "there are those among the architects of martial law who remain scot-free and unpunished."

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