Priest-Martial law victim seeks redress

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MANILA, June 24, 2014— A Catholic priest filed his application for compensation for being among the victims of Martial law abuses.

Redemptorist Fr. Amado Picardal said he was a victim of warrantless arrest and torture for distributing leaflets that denounced the dictatorship and stayed in jail for seven months.

“It was a traumatic experience and after four decades I am still occasionally haunted by a recurring nightmare that brings back the feeling of helplessness and terror,” Picardal said.

“Perhaps, this is a symptom of the so-called post-traumatic stress disorder. During those times, there was no such thing as stress debriefing or psychosocial first aid. But even without the help of psychiatrists, I have tried to get over what happened in my own way and by God’s grace,” he said.

The priest filed his claim at the Office of the Human Rights Victims’ Claim Board in Quezon City last Thursday along with 20 other applicants—among them former senator Orly Mercado.

“Meanwhile, I will just wait for the board to go through my application and make their approval. The waiting could take two years,” he said.

Picardal became known as the “biking priest” because of his frequent “bike for peace” trips.

According to him, it is not the money but the recognition of the justness of their fight against human rights abuses. “After all these years, I never thought that this day will come,” he said.

“The recognition from the HRVCB is part of the closure and healing process. I do not see myself as just a victim, but a survivor,” Picardal said.

He added that preparing his sworn statement, which happened to him during the martial law years, was hard enough and made him emotional.

“It was an overwhelming experience having to recall the traumatic incident,” Picardal said.

Last year, Congress passed Republic Act 10368 that grants recognition and compensation to victims of human rights violations during the Martial law years.

The government has set aside some P10 billion specifically for the compensation of the said victims. (CBCPNews)



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