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Ex-board member, legal officer clash during distribution of compensation claims

December 16, 2006

By Maricar M. Calubiran
The News Today, Dec. 15, 2006

YESTERODAY’S release of compensation claims for the oil spill victims in the province of Guimaras had several sidelights as an ex-board member of the province and its current legal officer had an altercation, while a moneyed check buyer was on standby to rediscount the checks of the claimants.

Former Guimaras Board member Gerry Yucon and Guimaras Provincial Legal Officer Plaridel Nava almost put on a show yesterday at the ground floor of the Iloilo Provincial Capitol as they yelled at each other over the processing of the compensation claims of fisherfolk from the town of San Lorenzo.

Yucon strongly commented on Nava’s presence in what was supposed to be a “show” for his group along with Cong. Edgar Espinosa and Mayor Arsenio Zambarrano. Yet, Nava was present during the releasing of checks for the San Lorenzo claimants.

The altercation between Yucon and Nava started when Nava said over a television news program months ago that he (Nava) and Gov. Rahman Nava are the only ones authorized by the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF) to process the claims of the Guimarasnons.

Yucon, Zambarrano and Espinosa belong to the group of former Guimaras governor Emily Lopez, from the Lakas party. While, Nava is aligned with Gov. Nava. Atty. Nava was appointed recently by Gov. Nava to become the provincial legal officer.

Atty. Nava’s presence in yesterday’s activity was not in relation to his work as the provincial legal officer of Guimaras. He was hired by IOPCF to notarize all the claims. Sources said Nava’s contract for San Lorenzo alone cost more than P60,000.

In an interview, Yucon said Nava should have observed “delicadeza” because of his earlier statement against the group of Zambarrano.

Nava was not available for comment as he was busy notarizing the claims though, he had agreed to an interview.

Meanwhile, oil spill claimants had mixed emotions yesterday after they were informed by their peers that a person at the capitol ground was ready to rediscount their checks at three percent off the check’s face value. The person was reportedly carrying some P8 million to cash in the checks of the claimants.

However, the claimants preferred to deposit or their check processed at the Land Bank of the Philippines.

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