(UPDATE) Duped Legacy plan holders want owner jailed
By Carmela Fonbuena
Mar. 25, 2009
Six plan holders of Legacy Group filed on Wednesday a syndicated estafa case against owner Celso de los Angeles, his family, and business partners for the alleged misuse of company funds.
Sen. Manuel Roxas II, who provided free legal assistance to the Legacy clients, is the seventh complainant in the case and joined the plan holders in their picket outside the Makati regional trial court where they filed the case.
The planholders, who paid a total of P705,000 for educational, memorial, and pension plans, said they want their money back and Delos Angeles jailed.
“Ikulong, ikulong (Put him in jail),” planholder Antonio Evangelista, 44, called out, raising his fist in front of photographers. An overseas Filipino worker in Palau, Evangelista carried baggage in hotels to earn the money he invested in Legacy’s financial products.
Evangelista bought an educational plan to secure her daughter’s college tuition from Consolidated Educational Plan, one of the three pre-need firms under the now bankrupt Legacy Group. He has paid in full the plan’s P112,800 total amortization and is supposed to start enjoying the fruits of his hard work when the plan matures in March 2010.
“Makulong man lang sya. Di baleng di kami mabayaran, (Just put him in jail. It doesn’t matter if we’ll even get paid back) said Corazon Argos, whose daughter Myla, an overseas worker in Dubai, is among the victims. Myla was persuaded by an agent of Legacy Group in Dubai to secure an education plan for her son.
Argos is not among the complainants in the case but she said she provided the documents to Roxas’s office.
Roxas was given by the planholders a special power of attorney to pursue the case. Aside from Delos Angeles, the planholders named as respondents his former wife Maria Concepcion, son Niccolo Martin, brother Victorino, and other business partners.
Among the evidence they presented are vouchers and photocopies of checks amounting up to P5 million issued by the Legacy Consolidated Plans Inc. to Celso Delos Angeles. At least one voucher showed that P1 million was issued “for election purposes.”
The Legacy Group mess involved the collapse of its twelve rural banks and three pre-need firms because of alleged misuse. The group of companies had collected deposits totaling about P24 billion and pre-need investments of about P7 billion.
This law suit led by Roxas is the latest syndicated estafa case that implicated de los Angeles.
Lawyer Noel Malaya, counsel of de los Angeles, meanwhile confirmed that there were already 30 syndicated estafa cases filed against Legacy Consolidated Plans Inc. The cases, he said, were filed by planholders and government agencies.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas have filed two of the three syndicated estafa cases against De los Angeles and his alleged accomplices based on transactions involving rural banks. Other estafa cases have been filed by the Philippine Depositors Insurance Corp., and groups of depositors.
Based on the complaint filed Wednesday, some of the pre-need clients have multiple plans with the Legacy Group. Depending on the plan, they deposited P52,000 to about P90,000 and expected their money to grow in the range of P100,000 to P230,000 when their plans mature.
One of the complainants, Arlene Basco, paid a total of about P270,000 to buy three pension plans. All three are supposed to mature on April 4, 2010 with a maturity value of about P700,000.
The Legacy Group’s pre-need firms included the Legacy Consolidated Plans Inc., Scholarship Plan Philippines, and All Asia Plans Corp..
Asked why De los Angeles has not been arrested inspite of several cases filed against him, Roxas said, “Kasama nyo ako sa pagtanong nyan (I am with you in asking that question).”
“Hindi natin papayagan na makakalimutan ito. Hindi natin papayagan na matapos mawala ang camera ay makakalimutan na lang ito tulad ng nakaraang mga scam. Magpupursigi tayo. (We will not allow that this case will just be forgotten when the cameras are no longer around. We will pursue this even when the cameras are no longer around),” Roxas added.
Roxas is the chairman of the Senate committee on trade and commerce, which heads the Senate hearings on the Legacy Group mess. He said the hearing will resume after Holy Week.
The Arroyo administration and the regulators have also set up task forces meant to fast track and coordinate legal action against de los Angeles and other Legacy officials.
Regulators like the BSP, PDIC and the SEC have to course their legal actions through the justice department, which would then determine if these cases should be consolidated and filed in court.
Cases that are already filed in the courts, like those filed by the planholders and the depositors, could eventually lead to the arrest of de los Angeles and his alleged accomplices.
The courts would also determine if the assets of de los Angeles and his reported accomplices should be confiscated. The sale proceeds of these assets could then be used to settle the now shaky billion peso-worth investments and deposits of Legacy clients.
Meantime, all that the duped Legacy clients can do is wait. — With a report from Maricar Bautista, ABS-CBN News
as of 03/25/2009 11:07 PM
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