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12,000 cops, soldiers Legacy Group victims

Business Mirror
By Butch Fernandez
Apr. 20, 2009

More than 12,000 uniformed personnel are among the victims of the bankrupt Legacy Group preneed plans founded by businessman Celso de los Angeles.

This was revealed over the weekend by Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, as he confirmed the resumption of the Senate inquiry on the status of the preneed industry on Monday.

Roxas said the total preneed payments made by soldiers and police officers through mandatory salary deduction amounted to P317,556,356.

“I pity the soldiers and police officers. This greedy Celso de los Angeles did not even spare them,” Roxas said.

“I will help them get their monies back, monies intended for the education of their children and for their retirement. I am with them in this fight.”

Roxas revealed that data submitted by the Armed Forces and Police Savings and Loan Association Inc. (Afpslai) showed that 12,047 soldiers and policemen paid monthly premiums for their Scholarship Plan Philippines Inc. (SPPI) policies through Afpslai.

“It seems that Afpslai secured education preneed plans for its members through the Legacy Group and collected payments through salary deduction,” he said.

Retired Lt. Gen. Christie Datu, Afpslai executive vice president and general manager, in a letter to Roxas explained that the agency has yet to finish segregating how many of the total affected personnel came from the Armed Forces and how many are from the National Police.

“Rest assured that we will assist our affected members in filing their claims with the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission],” Datu told Roxas.

It was learned that detained Marine Col. Ariel Querubin had written Senator Roxas that thousands of soldiers had bought SPPI claims through monthly payments made through Afpslai. Querubin bought his SPPI plan when he was assigned at Camp Sofronio Española in Southern Palawan in 1999.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) filed charges of syndicated estafa against de los Angeles and several others for allegedly misappropriating the multimillion-peso fund of a farmers’ cooperative.

In a 21-page complaint, the BSP, through its Office of the Special Investigation, accused Rural Bank of Darbci Inc., one of the banking institutions under the Legacy Group, of using for their own interest the amount of P70 million which was intended as additional capital infusion by Dolefil Agrarian Reform Benefeciaries Cooperative in the said bank.

Aside from de los Angeles, the BSP named Legacy officers Carolina Hiñola, Namnama Pasetes, Christine Cruz-Limpin, Norman Tiongson and Lydia Villanueva as respondents in the syndicated-estafa charge, which is penalized under Section 1 of Presidential Decree 1689.

The complaint said that RB Darbci officials enticed Dolefil, which owns 49 percent of the stocks in the said bank, to deposit the proceeds of its loan from Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) in RB Darbci under the guise of additional capital infusion.

Prior to this, RB Darbci was directed by the BSP after its 2005 examination to infuse additional capital.

During the first quarter of 2006, Dolefil chairman Jesus Pedregosa called up RB Darbci compliance officer William Escalante to seek assistance in obtaining loans from Legacy Banks.

RB Darbci apparently took advantage of Dolefil’s intention to obtain a loan to comply with the BSP’s order, thus, immediately set a meeting between de los Angeles and Pedregosa.

In their meeting, de los Angeles informed Pedregosa that he would help Dolefil obtain a loan from LBP instead, and that the loan would be made to appear as additional capital infusion of Dolefil in RB Darbci.

LBP subsequently granted Dolefil’s loan application and deposited the amount proceeds of P70 million to the cooperative’s savings account at RB Darbci.

Pursuant to Dolefil’s instruction, the P70-million loan proceeds were used to fund RB Darbci’s Investment Management Account (IMA).

However, the cooperative later accused the respondents of conspiring in siphoning off the IMA funds, which led to its closure and left Dolefil members empty-handed.

“In this case, respondents, in conspiracy with one another, unlawfully and fraudulently withdrew or caused to be withdrawn or both and siphoned the funds in the IMA account of RB Darbci in LBP, representing Dolefil’s addition capital infusion as stockholder. Respondents misappropriated and converted the same for their own personal gain and benefit or through corporations controlled by them or both,” the BSP complaint said.

as of 04/20/2009 12:16 AM


April 20, 2009 - Posted by | International Newspapers/Web News |

1 Comment »

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