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Allegedly forged signature in suit against journalist

By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa KOROR (Palau Horizon, August 31, 2009) - Ombudsman Moses Uludong has denied that he forged a document when he sued several persons for libel including media personnel.

Uludong appeared for arraignment on August 19 and entered a not guilty plea to one count of forgery.

He appeared with Counsel Oldiaias Ngirkelau and waived reading the information.

Uludong is set to appear for status conference on September 11 at 9:45 a.m.

Uludong was charged with forgery for submitting a forged document when he filed a lawsuit against several people including Palau Horizon’s reporter Bernadette Carreon.

Ombudsman Moses Uludong was charged with one count of forgery for forging a chief’s signature when he filed a libel lawsuit against several individuals including members of the media for reporting that two seats in BaiMelekeong-the highest traditional council of chiefs of Melekeok State have been declared vacant.

The information alleged that Uludong "did unlawfully and falsely make or alter a document, a Civil Action 09-91 filed in the Supreme Court of Palau with intent to defraud by wrongfully signing or encouraging the signing of the name Secharuleong Theodore Rengulbai as a co-plaintiff to the action."

Rengulbai is the chief and head of Ngeruleong clan and is the 5th ranking chief and the spokesman of the NgaraBaiMelekeong.

Ngermadel and Ngeruleong are two of the 11 clans of the Ukaeb, the ruling village of Melekeok state who 11 chiefs constitutes the NgaraBaiMelekeong which traditionally has political, judicial, social and economic jurisdiction over Melekeok State.

The affidavit submitted in court stated that Rengulbai was interviewed by a criminal investigator on July 27.

The document stated that Rengulbai sometime in April or May heard a press release on a radio that two members of NgaraBaiMelekeong had been removed from their seats.

The document further stated that several days later, Uludong called Rengulbai at his house and asked him to be a party to a lawsuit that he intended to file against several individuals.

The document stated that Rengulbai refused the offer and told Uludong that if he wanted to file a lawsuit, he preferred to do it on his own.

Uludong on May 3 came to Rengulbai’s residence and showed the latter a draft lawsuit.

Rengulbai reviewed the draft and refused to sign. He also suggested that the lawsuit should not target the NgaraBaiMelekeong.

The document stated that Uludong told Rengulbai that he would make necessary changes on May 4.

The document stated that after that meeting, Rengulbai found out that a lawsuit had been filed by Uludong on May 4 and his name was listed as co-plaintiff.

The document stated that Rengulbai went to the Clerk of Court to verify the information and he found out that his name was misspelled and his signature was forged.

The document stated that Uludong sent his son to Rengulbai’s residence but no one was home and instructed his son to sign the complaint.

Uludong filed a libel suit against F. Kazuo Asanuma, Ernest Ongidobel, Senator Alfonso Diaz, Palau Horizon’s reporter Philip Haruo and Bernadette Carreon in her capacity as the acting editor-in-chief, Island Times reporter Aurea Gerundio Dizon and editor Fermin Meriang and five other John Does.

The lawsuit stemmed from a press statement released to the media by Asanuma, the 4th ranking chief of Ngerang Hamlet of Melekeok State about the vacant positions of two seats in BaiMelekeong.

The press release stipulated that Rengulbai and Uludong, bearer of Ngirmang have been dismissed from BaiMelekeong.

The press release further stated that Paramount Chief Reklai Rafael Bao Ngirmang, the head of BaiMelekeong instructed Asanuma to make announcement about the vacated seats.

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