SELDA warns ML victims: Beware of scams

Rights group SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) warned martial law victims of possible scams in the process of their application for compensation for human rights victims.

“We call on all martial law victims to be wary of persons who ask for money for processing their claims,” said SELDA chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez.

Enriquez said their organization issues this warning after receiving reports that some victims were approached by people who asked for personal information and for processing fee for their claims.

Victims of human rights violations under  martial law are entitled to a compensation after the bicameral session of the Senate and Lower Houses signed the final version of the  martial law victims indemnification bill, now called the Human Rights Violation Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

Pres. Noynoy Aquino is said to sign the bill into law on February 25, the anniversary of EDSA People Power.

According to Enriquez, a friend from the media forwarded her an e-mail from a concerned citizen who raised concern on the possibility of a scam.  According to the e-mail, individuals in Marawi City,  some of them teachers, were “recruited” to attend a seminar in Davao City as  martial law victims. They were allegedly asked to give P3,000 each, and were told that they will receive a million pesos if they attend the seminar. SELDA is currently verifying the said report.

“We are advising everybody not to fall prey to these culprits. We have fought for justice this long. We should ensure that the compensation, however small, shall be received by the rightful recipients,” Enriquez said.

SELDA also received a report from its local chapter in Concepcion, Tarlac that two SELDA members, both teachers in an elementary school who are tasked to encode documents of claimants in their town, were approached by a certain Gerry Caloza. He told them that he is from the Office of the President, and asked all sorts of question about their documentation work. Caloza cannot give any clear reason why he was interested with the information on the victims.

Martial law victims in Bataan, meanwhile, were approached by persons identifying themselves as members of a certain Bullion group, who told them they will receive millions in claims. The victims immediately informed Selda of the report.

Enriquez said it will be most safe and secure for the victims to contact SELDA, one of the organizations recognized under the Human
Rights Violation Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 to identify victims and help process the claims.

SELDA was the lead organization in the historic filing of the class suit against the Marcoses in 1986, and has regional chapters
nationwide which may help identify victims who may receive claims.

Enriquez also said their apprehensions are not baseless since there was a case on fake claimants discovered last year.

In November 2011, Edward and Marlyn Santiago, along with six others, were charged with estafa after the Criminal Investigation and
Detection Group (CIDG) found out attempts by some individuals to encash checks named after legitimate victims using fake IDs. The
Santiago couple is suspected to be recruiting persons to claim checks under the name of legitimate claimants.

For more information on the compensation for Martial Law victims, please contact SELDA at (632) 434-2837 or 0917-596-5859 . ###

Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA chairperson 0917-5616800
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