Press Release
March 5, 2010


Vice presidential race frontrunner and Liberal Party president Sen. Mar Roxas today expressed confidence the prosecution of criminal charges filed against Legacy scam mastermind Celso de los Angeles could now move forward even as he prodded newly-appointed Justice Secretary Alberto Agra to handle the cases with impartiality.

Roxas hoped Agra, unlike his predecessors at the Department of Justice, would be more sympathetic to the cause of the tens of thousands of pre-need holders who were victimized by De Los Angeles' schemes that defrauded his victims of their hundreds of millions in savings and retirement pays.

He renewed his appeal to exempt pre-need victims from paying filing fees collected by the Department of Justice before it formally files a case with the courts on complaints it have already finished prosecuting.

In a letter to Agra dated March 4, the LP vice presidential candidate wrote: "I hope that under your new leadership, and unlike your predecessors, victims of failed pre-need companies will finally obtain justice, with the perpetrators of pre-need frauds prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, specifically, Legacy's Celso delos Angeles."

He lamented that while complaints against De Los Angeles have been pending since last year, the Legacy owner "until now has not been arrested and detained despite the issuance of several arrest warrants against him." The Cagayan de Oro trial court has issued an arrest warrant but court processors have yet to serve this because of his medical condition. In consideration of his medical condition, the court has agreed to place him instead under 'hospital arrest.'

Roxas said De Los Angeles even has the temerity to taunt his victims, citing reports he has left the St. Luke's Hospital, where he is under hospital arrest for treatment of Stage 4 cancer of the throat, and is now staying at a nearby condominium unit where he had allegedly been holding political caucuses. "I received information that the handling court ordered the house arrest without opposition from the DOJ. I hope this matter can be rectified the soonest," he added.

In line with his call for a more rigorous prosecution of De Los Angeles, Roxas also urged Agra to reconsider his predecessors' ruling on his request to exempt pre-need victims from paying the court filing fees as he insisted the complainants lack the financial resources to pay for the filing fees, especially since they have already lost their monies to Legacy's schemes.

"I reiterate the urgency and importance of this appeal. Pre-need victims have already gone through so much financially and emotionally given that they have lost their hard-earned monies to scrupulous pre-need companies and considering that the DOJ and court fees unfortunately serve as unwarranted barriers to their continuing quest for justice," Roxas stressed.

Roxas had previously requested former DOJ Secretaries Raul Gonzalez and Agnes Devanadera to permit prosecutors to already file cases in court and allow pre-need victims to pay the filing fees only after the successful prosecution of their complaints. The two have rejected the senator's request, insisting the victims were not indigents, and therefore do not meet the requirements of existing regulations.

Roxas' Senate trade and commerce committee had spearheaded an investigation into the anomalous collapse of De Los Angeles' pre-need companies and had discovered an intricate scheme that defrauded their policy-holders of their millions of pesos in investments. He had led the filing of syndicated estafa charges against De Los Angeles before the DOJ and before other local courts.

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