Saving Cadet Cudia Human Rights Victims

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Monday, February 24, 2014


IT IS a sad day for Pampangos to realize the stark silence of -- and absence of protest by -- our political leaders on the fate of a cabalen PMA cadet who is a victim of sophisticated bullying by his peers and his school.

The least our provincial leaders could have done to help the beleaguered cadet who comes from Arayat town, was for 3rd district board members to author a resolution asking the President to restore the cadet to his class standing status quo ante for humanitarian reasons. Board Member Rosve, BM Teddy, and BM Dinan, are you sleeping?

The PMA honor code is being exercised to the extreme such as that a two-minute tardiness, giving rise to a reasonable justification by the harassed cadet, resulted to his summary dismissal.

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Representative Oscar Rodriguez (third district) has been quietly working to save the Arayat cadet from dismissal. The pro-poor lawmaker cited the cadet’s infraction has to be balanced by its gravity and tempered by the ideals of the students’ code of honor.

*****

The Human Rights Claims Board is in a fix and appears perplexed by the compensation issue for victims of human rights abuses in the martial regime.

The Board, headed by retired police general Lina Sarmiento, is in the thorny process of determining the monetary value for the martial law victims and their families.

While compensation for human life varies according to premiums paid, as in the case of insurance companies, suffering under the Marcos dictatorship is difficult to quantify in peso value.

Take the cases of our famous freedom fighters during that era, the lawyers Edgardo Pamintuan and Oscar Rodriguez. It would take an actuarial scientist to compute the money equivalent of their pains and deprivation while being hunted as warriors against and fugitives from the Marcos government.

I understand that Edpam, now Angeles City mayor and Oca, now congressman of the 3rd district, refused to avail of the compensation package for victims of human rights violations. Being harassed and listed in the military order of battle was no less a punishment and torture than being in actual detention.

Pamintuan, aka Kumander Gatdu, suffered a camp confinement for his subversive activities while Rodriguez, aka Kumander Jasmin, fought the regime, and went underground as a hunted rebel.

I have been asked my two-cents’ worth on the issue and was able to come up with a tentative proposal. My idea is similar to that of the compensation scheme under the agrarian reform program as implemented in Hacienda Luisita. It’s called “stock distribution option.”

If the claimants object to the SDO with the initial P10-billion capital awarded to them by the Swiss court, they have no option apart from a mode of payment according to the implementing rules of the Claimants Board.

I understand that only three types of victim-claimants are being considered for compensation, viz. a) those killed or missing and b) those who were imprisoned, and c) those who experienced other kinds of abuse.

The Board gives l0 points to those killed or missing; 5 points to those imprisoned, and l point to those who suffered other kinds of abuse in the degree similar to Vhong Navarro who was beaten black and blue, with his private part severely tampered, too, per broadcast by Karen Davila.

There is no three-points awarded according to the gravity of the human rights violations specially those on torture and rape. These merit at least l8 points in the Richter scale.

Distributing the P10 Billion compensation fund by means of the point system requires transparency and integrity in the process.

‘Ten billion pesos’ carries the jinx and bad connotation of the notorious P10 billion pork barrel scam where fake Napoles NGOs were used to perpetrate the plunder. It is our prayer that no ghost HR victims be inserted and awarded compensation.

By publishing the names and addresses of the victim-claimants, the Claims Board will prevent any malicious talks and accusations of fraud. Consider that her critics cited certain apprehensions and doubts as to the woman police general’s background.

There was this racket where police (and military) retirees who have long died were not delisted from pension privileges, along with those who had been dismissed and the AWOL, too.

This corner believes that the minimum of P20,000 per l point shall be mandated, inclusive of VAT and other BIR fees. Victims of mauling by soldiers and the law enforcement agents may qualify for five points. Women whose nipples and men whose private parts were subjected to electric current by battery operated devices deserve additional points. The only non-compensable HR violation is the haircut victim. It was the hapless fellow, a curfew violator usually, whose crop of hair was forcefully razored to a military cut to emphasize personal discipline and make the nation great again.

Radio man Ariel Ureta, the guy who was forced to punishing biking over exercise at a military camp for his parody on “bisikleta at disiplina” was not on the claimants list. I wonder if the families of the slain activist Doy Tongol and ex-governor Jose B. Lingad had filed a claim for their murder.

Among the young radicals in that era was ex- seminarian Bong Lacson whose Karl Marx-inspired writings riled the military. The Beatle-haired activist was sequestered at the PC compound in Sto. Nino CSF, destined to certain detention and possible torture, but for the intercession of his patron, Msgr. Paciano B. Aniceto who took him under his custody.

Lacson took the occasion to inflict his own insult to the intelligence of his interrogators by lecturing them on Engels and the basics of dialectical materialism.

*****

Happiness cannot be found
when you seek it yourself.
But when you give it to others,
then it will find its way back to you.
Stay happy this Monday!

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on February 24, 2014.

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