SELDA calls for investigation of victims’ lawyers

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Contributed Photo
Contributed Photo

MANILA, Philippines (06 Nov 2011) – The Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) today called for an immediate and impartial investigation to ascertain who is behind the eight people reportedly arrested for using fake documents to claim the compensation meant for victim of human rights violations during the Marcos regime. SELDA is an organization of former political prisoners that initiated the filing of the class action suit against former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos.

Bonifacio Ilagan, vice chairperson of SELDA, said in dismay, that those behind these 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. Attys. Swift and 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 in exasperation.

“Atty. Rodrigo Domingo and Atty. Robert Swift, counsels in the class suit, 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 said.

Ilagan added that this is 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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