Jamby: Villar reaped windfalls in ‘grandfather of Legacy scam’

by AMITA LEGASPI, GMANews.TV
08/12/2009 | 02:20 PM

Senator Ma. Ana Consuelo Madrigal on Wednesday accused Senator Manuel Villar and his wife Rep. Cynthia Villar of buying lands at a low price and reaping windfalls by mortgaging them to their own bank.

During the Senate of the whole hearing on the ethics complaint against Villar, Madrigal said the couple profited a total of P281 million through the alleged modus operandi that she described as the “grandfather of the Legacy scam.”

Madrigal said she has in her possession official documents showing that the Villar-owned companies Adelfa Properties and Link Holdings bought a 37,788-square-meter land from Enrique Factor for P11 million.

Ten days after the transaction, the land was mortgaged by the two companies to the Villar-owned Capitol Development Bank for P100 million. The amount was released on the same day.

In another transaction, the same Villar companies bought a 23,703-square-meter land from Maria Rodriguez for P11.3 million, and mortgaged the same also for P100 million to Capitol Bank.

A third transaction involved a 23,474-square-meter land from Iluminada Rodriguez, which Adelfa and Link Holdings bought for P18.799 million and mortgaged for P81.5 million also to Capitol Bank.

Madrigal did not mention the exact date of the transactions and the exact location of the lots, saying only that these were along the route of the C5 extension project.

Ito ang dahilan kung bakit pagkatapos ng dalawa at kalahating taon ay bumagsak ang Capitol Bank. Kumita sila ng P281 million sa kanilang sariling bangko,” Madrigal said.

She added that when the bank went bankrupt in 1998, Cynthia Villar, the bank’s president and chief operating officer, asked for an emergency fund from the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas in the amount of P3.5 billion, which was granted.

In 1998, Capitol Bank was renamed Optimum Development Bank and in 1999, the BSP sent a demand letter to Optimum Bank to pay the emergency fund it asked and the interest incurred in the amount of P4.3 billion.

Madrigal said the three mortgaged lands were among those bought by the government from the Villars for the construction of the C5 extension project.

She presented documents from the Land Registration Authority, Department of Public Works and Highways, Securities and Exchange Commission, among others.

Villar stands accused of realigning the C5 road extension project to benefit properties registered in the name of corporations that he and his family own and control.

There was also supposedly a conflict of interest on Villar’s part when he failed to divest himself of interest in corporations whose properties were acquired by the government for road right of way for the Las Piñas-Paranaque road.

He was also accused of allegedly making an insertion of P200 million in Republic Act 9498 or the General Appropriations Act of 2008 for the construction of the C5 extension from South Luzon Expressway to Sucat Road including the right of way even though the project was already covered in the same law with the same amount.

Madrigal said the government paid Villar P137 million for his 13 lots affected by the road construction.

She said the Villar’s “modus operandi” affected small depositors just like the scam allegedly perpetrated by Legacy owner Celso delos Angeles. GMANews.TV

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Jamby dubs Villar as “grandfather of scam”

By Purple S. Romero, abs-cbnnews.com/Newsbreak | 08/12/2009 8:11 PM

MANILA – Sen. Jamby Madrigal on Tuesday accused Sen. Manuel Villar of being the “grandfather of Legacy scams” for allegedly robbing depositors of a bank his family used to own.

In the continuing hearing of the Senate committee on the whole, Sen. Madrigal compared Sen. Villar to businessman-turned-politician Celso de los Angeles who is facing criminal cases for allegedly siphoning his clients’ money in a ploy now known as the “Legacy scam.”

Madrigal said that the Villars orchestrated a grand modus operandi of using parcels of land bought at low prices as collaterals for millions worth of emergency loans availed by his previously-owned bank, Capitol Bank, from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Villar’s camp, however, denied there was a scam since the loans with BSP have long been paid.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile also said the evidence presented by Madrigal will not be included in the ethics hearing on Villar since the latter was not yet a senator when the loan transactions were made.

The senate hearing is part of probes on Villar’s potential ethical lapses in the C-5 road extension, which Madrigal alleged to have benefitted Villar’s real estate companies.

BSP loans

Madrigal said that the Villar and his wife Las Pinas Rep. Cynthia bought the properties of Enrique Factor, Maria Rodriguez and Iluminada Rodriguez in 1995 for P11 million to P18 million through their holding companies Adelfa Properties, Link Holdings and Infra Holdings.

A day after their purchase, these lots were mortgaged to Capitol Bank, which released P281 million in loans 10 days after: P100 million for Factor property, P100 million for Maria’s property, and P81 million for Iluminada’s property. Capitol Bank later used the lots as collateral for a P3.5-billion loan from BSP.

The penalties for the loans increased, however, according to Madrigal, and in 1999, BSP issued a demand letter of payment for P4.5 billion.

Ernesto Francisco, Madrigal’s counsel, added that Capitol Bank issued three other promissory notes—worth P2 billion, P1.2 billion and P300 million—to BSP.

Francisco said Cynthia Villar signed the promissory notes.

The in-kind payment for the P1.2 billion loan was the disputed farmland of the Villars in Norzagaray, which was the subject of another complaint lodged at the ethics committee headed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

The ethics committee dropped the complaint, however, as the Office of the Ombudsman also dismissed a similar case filed against the Villars.
Francisco told Abs-cbnnews.com/Newsbreak that BSP has to clear the air on its inaction on the lots in question. “BSP should have asserted that it already owns the properties…Adelfa Properties and Golden Haven Memorial Park should not have been extended with road right-of-way payment then,” he said.

Loans paid

But Villar’s camp refuted Madrigal’s claims, adding that the issues she raised do not fall anymore under the jurisdiction of the Senate as these transpired when Manny was still a congressman and Cynthia, a private citizen.

Atty.Nalen Galang, Villar’s counsel, also denied that her client received compensation in any way for the properties mortgaged to BSP.

She showed copies of the cancelled certificates of land of Factor and Maria Iluminada, adding that the two – and not three lots – have already been sold to BSP.

She said that the properties did not also merit hundreds in millions of loans, debunking Madrigal’s accusations that the Villars grossly raised the value of the lands. “They were part of a pool of properties,” she explained.

She hastened to add that there was nothing amiss in Capitol Bank’s move to secure loans from the BSP, with the lots as collateral. “They were emergency loans. It is not unusual for banks to obtain emergency loans from BSP,” she said, as the loans were also sought following the Asian Financial Crisis.

Adel Tamano, a partymate at the Nacionalista Party, raised that under the rules of the Senate, parties could “voluntarily inhibit” in investigations at any signs of prejudice. He added that “it is an issue of delicadeza” not only for Madrigal, who announced her presidential ambitions, but also to other presidential wannabes in the Senate to excuse themselves from the proceedings.

Ocular inspection

The Senate will resume the adjudicatory hearing on Thursday, with officials from the DPWH, BSP and Land Registration Authority to be summoned.

They would also subpoena additional documents from the BSP and the Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office to determine if the previous budgets showed any pattern of increase in the funds for the realigned C-5 road extension project.

Lacson said that this is imperative as Villar served as chair of the financial committee since 2001.

After the testimonies, the Senate will conduct an ocular inspection of the Las Piñas-Parañaque link road, where Madrigal will identify properties which received smaller payments for the road right-of-way as compared to that received by Adelfa Properties, Golden Haven Memorial Park and Brittany Corp.

as of 08/12/2009 8:13 PM

ABS-CBN News

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