Press Release from Sen. Mar Roxas
A press release dated March 2, 2009 was sent to the PEP Coalition. Below is the press release:
March 02, 2009
ROXAS: EX-LEGACY MANAGERS NAILS DOWN DE LOS ANGELES
URGES SEC ANEW TO ATTACH ASSETS, SEEK DOJ HOLD ORDER
Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today said the testimony of a former Legacy Group marketing manager before the Senate trade and commerce committee showed how businessman Celso de los Angeles deliberately engineered his companies’ double your money programs to defraud investors of their hard-earned savings.
“Narinig nating lahat na ang panlilinlang na ginawa ni De los Angeles sa kanyang mga investors ay pinagplanuhan niyang mabuti. Ibig sabihin, sinadya talagang lokohin ang mga investors, sinadya talagang nakawin lang ang pera ng mga kawawang mga magulang at mga depositors (We have heard testimony that it was De los Angeles himself who cooked up the scheming programs, that deliberately planned to fool his investors, that he deliberately planned to steal the savings of parents who bought his pre-need plans and the depositors who placed their monies in his banks),” Roxas said.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce was referring to the testimonies of several former officers of Legacy’s various companies, among them Legacy Consolidated Inc. First Vice President for Marketing Myrna Castillo Axalan; Rural Bank of Bais Inc. president and chairman Paul Stephen Montenegro; Rural Bank of DARBCI Inc. member of the board Cynthia Belarma and Bank of East Asia acting chairman Rolando Labrador.
“Napakaganda ng mga promos na dinisensyo ni De los Angeles, talaga namang ma-e-engganyo kang magpasok ng pera mo sa Legacy. Pero lahat ng ito pala ay bula lang. Kawawa naman ang libo-libong magulang at depositors na naloko nitong si De los Angeles. Mahalagang maibalik natin ang kanilang mga pinaghirapang ipon (De los Angeles’ promos were so attractive that anyone would really be lured into investing their monies to Legacy. But all these turned out to be nothing. I pity the thousands of parents and depositors who were fooled by De los Angeles. It is important that we help them get their savings back),” the Ilonggo senator said.
Axalan, in a sworn affidavit submitted to the committee, claimed Legacy’s double your money schemes were “personally designed and created” by De los Angeles himself.
She admitted she was also lured into investing her own money into Legacy because of the promise of high returns for her investment. But, she lamented, the scheme “turned out to be just mere devious ploys to defraud investors, including myself, and plan holders of our hard earned money and savings, much to our great damage and prejudice.”
Her testimony was supported by Montenegro, who relayed one instance when his bank’s Cebu branch was supposedly directed by Legacy Manila to issue certificates of time deposits to an unspecified number of pre-need plan holders “but while there were entries of deposits, there was no money that came into the bank. This was for a mere three-day audit but this already involved P50 million.” -more-
He claimed De los Angeles placed his own minions to oversee RBBI-Cebu’s transactions, explaining that “the three bank branches in Negros Oriental only had legitimate transactions but the one in Cebu, that was the hao-shiao (fake).”
Labrador and Belarma confirmed their respective banks also got instructions to issue certificates of time deposits to depositors, whose names were allegedly dictated by Legacy Manila or Davao, but no monies were ever deposited to their companies. Belarma said Rural Bank of DARBCI’s deposit liabilities have ballooned close to P1 billion “but we have no actual deposits.”
“Sa mga testimonyang narinig natin ngayon, malinaw na malinaw na talagang scam itong ginawa ni De los Angeles. Kaya talaga kailangang panagutan niya ang pagnanakaw na ginawa niya sa kanyang mga biktima (With the testimonies we have just heard, it is very clear now that this was a scam. De Los Angeles has to be held liable for stealing the savings of his victims),” Roxas stressed.
He said that with the noose tightening on De los Angeles, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should act fast to stop the businessman from disposing his personal assets or from fleeing the country.
He said the filing of charges against the beleaguered Legacy owner would not stop him from selling off his assets, pointing out that there is no court order barring the mayor of Sto. Domingo, Albay from disposing his properties.
He also said the SEC should have asked the Bureau of Immigration or the Department of Justice to place De los Angeles under its Hold Departure Order to prevent him from leaving the country and escaping his thousands of victims.
“Ano pa ba ang hinihintay nitong SEC na ito? Paulit-ulit na nating sinabi na kailangang ipa-attach na ang mga assets ni De los Angeles at importanteng maisama na siya sa HDO ng DoJ at ng immigration nang sa gayon ay hindi siya makalabas sa bansa. Hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin kumikilos itong SEC. May pumipigil ba dito para hindi nito gawin ng tama ang kanilang mga trabaho? (What is the SEC waiting for? I have repeatedly asked the SEC to attach De los Angeles’ assets and to place him under the hold order of the DOJ and the immigration bureau so he can no longer leave the country. But until now, the SEC has done nothing. Is somebody stopping the SEC from doing its job correctly?),” he asked.
Roxas has set up a pool of lawyers to assist victims of pre-need firms, especially plan holders victimized by De los Angeles’ Legacy. Anyone who wish to avail of the free legal services can text or call 0919-MAROXAS (627-6927).