Friday, November 04, 2011

Filipino group calls for probe on failed money claims intended for Marcos' victims

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 4, 2011) - The Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) on Friday called on authorities for the immediate investigation of an attempt by a group which tried to claim compensation meant for victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime.

Police recently arrested 8 people who tried to claim the checks using fake documents in Manila.

Selda urged authorities to dig deeper into the investigation and unmask who was behind it.

Bonifacio Ilagan, vice chairperson of SELDA, said those behind the fake claimants have in their possession the copy of the masterlist and the signatures of the original claimants for them to be able to claim the checks.

“This is exactly what we, in SELDA, want to prevent. Lawyers Robert Swift and Rodrigo Domingo should have allowed SELDA to have that list but only these lawyers have an access to it. We could have averted such incidents because SELDA helped majority of the victims,” Ilagan said.

“Atty. Rodrigo Domingo and Atty. Robert Swift, counsels in the class suit (against Marcos regime), should like­­­­­wise be investigated as they are responsible for the integrity of these documents. It is their duty to ensure that these checks will be released to the rightful claimants. SELDA and the ma­­­rtial law victims have repeatedly sought Domingo and Swift, the latter being the court-appointed counsel, for meetings for transparent discussions on court actions and on the distribution of the initial compensation, but they repeatedly brushed aside these efforts,” Ilagan added.

He said it was disheartening, especially for the 2,013 legitimate claimants who were arbitrarily stricken off by Domingo and Swift from the original list of 9,539 victims as originally validated by the US Federal District Court of Hawaii.

“They were denied justice because of the arbitrariness of these counsels and now they are doubly victimized because the compensation due them is distributed to alleged fake claimants,” he said.

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