Press Release
June 3, 2009


The Senate has adopted a resolution designating victims of failed pre-need companies and investment scams as 'indigent litigants' exempted from paying legal and filing fees charged and collected before any civil or criminal claims can be pursued.

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas, chairman of the Senate trade and commerce committee, which is looking into the plight of the pre-need industry and the collapse of the Legacy group of companies, is author of Senate Resolution No. 1118 which will be sent to the Supreme Court to press for exemption of the pre-need scam victims from paying huge court fees to pursue their estafa case against Legacy owner Celso de los Angeles and other company officials.

Aside from Roxas, the resolution was signed by Senators Francis Escudero, Richard Gordon, Ramon Revilla Jr., Joker Arroyo, Benigno Aquino III, Loren Legarda, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, Gregorio Honasan, Manuel Lapid, Pia Cayetano, Francis Pangilinan, Aquilino Pimentel and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

In PSR No. 1118, the Senate expressed its sense that "victims of failed pre-need companies and investment scams should be considered as 'indigent litigants' and thus, exempt from paying legal and filing fees charged by the Department of Justice and the Supreme Court of the Philippines."

The Department of Justice collects filing fees from victims who want to pursue any criminal action against erring companies or individuals or before any criminal action is filed in court while the Supreme Court charges various legal fees for every complaint filed.

Roxas noted that no less than the 1987 Constitution states that, "Free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty."

"One such way of capturing the spirit of the constitutional right to free access to courts is their designation as 'indigent litigants'," he said, stressing: "Victims of failed pre-need companies and investment scams have already experienced loss of hard-earned money used to pay for a pre-need plan or an investment scheme."

They insisted victims should be spared from paying the legal and filing fees because "it is bad enough that these victims have already lost so much financially, it would be even worse if they would be denied access to justice simply because they cannot afford the filing and/or legal fees."

Roxas had asked the DOJ to waive the filing fees charged against Legacy victims. He had also pleaded with the SC to exempt of pre-need and investment scams victims from the payment of filing and legal fees, which he said have become "stumbling blocks" in the victims' quest for justice.

News Latest News Feed