Legacy owner a ‘criminal genius’ — solon
By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 22:37:00 02/03/2009
MANILA, Philippines—A “criminal genius” was how a lawmaker described Celso de los Angeles, owner of The Legacy group of companies, with how he has run his businesses in the pre-need and banking industries.
De los Angeles appeared at Tuesday’s hearing in the House of Representatives which looked into the condition of the troubled pre-need companies in the country.
Three pre-need companies under the controversial Legacy group, which has about 50,000 plan holders, closed down last month — Legacy Consolidated Plans Inc., Scholarship Plan Philippines Inc. and All Asia Plans Corp.
De los Angeles, who is also mayor of Sto. Domingo town in Albay, told the committee how his businesses are interlinked. For example, he said that when teachers avail of loans from their firm, they are also asked to buy pre-need plans from another company of Legacy, or those who have deposits in the rural banks are offered credit cards.
In another scheme, he said they offer microfinance loans that may be used to purchase motorcycles from another Legacy company.
Zambales Representative Antonio Diaz remarked that De los Angeles could be a “criminal genius.”
“I’d like to say that I admire the criminal genius of Mr. (de los) Angeles, he has everybody confused. …he’s in banking, he’s also in pre-need, he’s in motorcycle lending, he’s also in car lending, and we don’t know what agency that should look into his activities,” said Diaz, who even proposed during the hearing that de los Angeles be confined at the House of Representatives until he tells the truth.
Zambales Representative Maria Milagros Magsaysay said she does not buy the idea that the trustee banks are at fault for Legacy’s business failures.
De los Angeles gave assurances Legacy has the assets to pay its plan holders but that they are in trustee banks and are not in liquid form.
The Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed that Legacy’s trust fund are in four to five banks, the biggest being in Land Bank of the Philippines.
SEC chairperson Fe Barin said that whether the amount of Legacy’s assets in trustee banks are enough to pay for its claimants will depend on the assessment of the claims.
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