November 9, 2011
Dear Atty. Rod Domingo,
In behalf of the victims of human rights violations during martial law under the Marcos regime who belong to organizations in the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), we would like to express concern over the recent report that some checks belonging to similar victims have been encashed by fake claimants. We are further alarmed that these fake claimants are poor people used by persons known to you. All involved lawless elements should be determinedly prosecuted.
We have been informed that the sole repository of both the list of claimants and the checks due the claimants are you and your office.
It is thus not farfetched for people to speculate that the whole scheme was “an inside job”. But much more, the speculation of a syndicate involving even “contacts” within the Commission of Human Rights has already been conjured though still needing investigation by Bayan Muna party list representatives as reported in media (cfr. Philippine Daily Inquirer, Nov.6, 2011, p.A4).
PAHRA earnestly believes that it is of utmost urgency to clear the air the soonest possible time before all the goodwill and gratitude for the initial victory obtained by the victims would be significantly eroded by this recent anomaly. We commend that you have already advised the concerned banks “to immediately stop the payments of checks being cashed or negotiated by unscrupulous or dubious claimants”, as well conducting your own “covert investigation to get into the bottom of these activities”. These actions certainly would protect the genuine ML victims-claimants from being victimized further.
Nonetheless, we strongly recommend that you make public your office’s accountability, including the process of distribution, to exonerate people, including yourself, and the Commission on Human Rights of any wrong doing. We are afraid that any added delay to transparency may just make any taint of scandal for what it is worth difficult to erase in the public mind. Sceptics and/or detractors of activities, formations and institutions of human rights defenders may also have a heyday in vilifying what really is a noble cause – to obtain justice and dignity for all.
Thank you very much for the kind consideration of this note of urgent concern. If there be anything you may wish to clarify or you think we could be of help, please contact me or Ms. Rose Trajano, Acting Secretary General, in any of the numbers in this stationery.
Max M. de Mesa