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Compensation For Philippine Dictatorship Victims

"Compared to others, mine was not the worst torture," he said. "The others were electrocuted and injected with truth serum. ... But the threats continued."

Ilagan's sister, Rizalina, disappeared in 1976 along with nine other activists, many of them students involved in anti-Marcos publications, he said. One of the women arrested by the same government unit that he suspected was involved in his sister's abduction had escaped to recount her rape and torture. Ilagan said he has no doubt that his sister went through the same abuses.

His parents died still hoping his sister would turn up alive, but the family has found no closure, Ilagan said.

Lawmakers in two chambers of the Congress agreed last week on the text of the compensation bill.

Aquino is the son of an assassinated anti-Marcos activist and a mother who led the 1986 "people power" revolt that ousted Marcos and sent him into U.S. exile, where he died three years later without ever facing prosecution for human rights abuses.

Many of Marcos' men reinvented themselves as powerful politicians or businessmen, and not one was successfully prosecuted for any of the crimes allegedly committed during the martial law years.

Two martial law figures, former Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and the deputy military chief of staff, Fidel Ramos, led a mutiny against Marcos as part of the 1986 revolt. Ramos later served as president from 1992 to 1998, and Enrile is currently the president of the Senate.

Despite cases filed by former political prisoners, "there have been no convictions of perpetrators," Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairwoman of SELDA, said Monday.

The Marcos family, meanwhile, returned from exile in 1990s and again wields influence. Former first lady Imelda Marcos is a lawmaker, son Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcosis is a senator, and daughter Imee is a provincial governor.

"Governments after Marcos did not move or did not do anything to go after Marcos seriously, so we filed a case in Hawaii," Hilao-Enriquez said.

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