The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) announces the formation of the People’s Claim Board, in protest of President Aquino’s appointment of a retired police director, Lina Sarmiento, to the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB), a week before the law that creates it, the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 or Republic Act No. 10368, turns one year old.
The People’s Claims Board will act both as a watchdog and a monitoring body of the Aquino administration’s HRVCB. Its priority is to ensure that real and legitimate martial law victims will not be marginalized. We will not back out from our fight or tone down our call for justice.
Sarmiento’s appointment is a clear affront to the martial law victims. The appointment of this former Philippine Constabulary (PC) officer to the claims board is tantamount to honoring an atrocious martial law apparatus. The defunct Philippine Constabulary, the forerunner of the current Philippine National Police, was known for the most serious human rights violations during the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship.
Besides, the appointment clearly disregards the qualifications required by law for members of the HRVCB.
Sarmiento has no credibility to head the board, being part of the institution accused of the worst human rights abuses during that period. Apart from being a PC officer under Marcos, Sarmiento was the former head of the PNP’s Human Rights Affairs Office during the Arroyo regime, which has the worst post-martial law record of human rights abuses. None of these makes her worthy of the appointment. We express doubt that, with Sarmiento as its chair, the HRVCB will be an independent body.
chair, Samahan ng Ex-Detainees
Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto,
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