Legacy Group owner dead

Posted at 03/27/2012 10:15 PM | Updated as of 03/28/2012 9:35 AM

MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) - Legacy Group owner Celso de los Angeles, who was facing numerous cases of syndicated estafa for allegedly masterminding the Legacy insurance and pension scam, died Tuesday morning at St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City, the hospital admission's office said.

His death was disclosed by Cathy de Aros, a St. Luke's admitting section staff.

De los Angeles' lawyer, Noel Malaya, confirmed his death. He gave no specific cause for delos Angeles' death.

De los Angeles had been undergoing treatment for throat cancer since late 2010.

He was brought from Tacloban City to Metro Manila last October 1, 2011 after the Regional Trial Court Branch 12 in Ormoc City granted his motion to travel to Metro Manila to be treated at St. Luke's Medical Center.

Philip Piccio of the PEP Coalition, the nemesis of De los Angeles, also said he also received a text message from one of their members about the Legacy owner's death.

'Swindling syndicate'

De los Angeles left behind a P30-billion financial mess and a string of unsettled lawsuits related to the Legacy Group. 

De los Angeles was facing multiple syndicated estafa charges filed by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) with the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the collapse of 13 Legacy-member rural banks.

Legacy Group's collapse affected at least 130,000 bank depositors in the Central Visayas alone.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas accused De los Angeles being the brains behind a "swindling syndicate" that employed exorbitant investment schemes to amass depositors’ money and then later siphoned off a total of P30 billion public and government funds to corporations he controlled.

He allegedly used some of the money for his election campaign.

All Legacy banks had an estimated total deposit liability of P24 billion when they collapsed.

De los Angeles, who was detained at the Ormoc provincial jail before he became ill, was also charged with "creation of fictitious loans" before the DOJ.

The PDIC -- the statutory receiver of Legacy rural banks shut down in 2008 -- filed the criminal case after it gathered evidence on almost P40 million-worth of fictitious loans.

The loans were allegedly made by borrowers, some of them also fictitious, with San Pablo City Development Bank (SPCDB), a Laguna-based rural bank under the Legacy Group.

PDIC is paying a total of P14 billion in insured deposits in the Legacy banks.

De los Angeles was not arraigned on many of the lawsuits he faced because of his failing health.

Atty. Inocencio dela Cerna, another lawyer of De los Angeles, told ABS-CBN News in a text message Tuesday night that his client can no longer be included in the lawsuits related to the Legacy mess because he has died.

"Will inform all courts on the matter for the eventual dismissal of all his criminal cases," he said.

Legacy mess

However, the Legacy-related lawsuits will continue for other defendants.

Overseas Filipino workers, military and police personnel, and even the government were among those caught in the Legacy mess.

De los Angeles, an Albay town mayor, was touted as the local version of American multibillion-dollar swindler, Bernard Madoff. The disgraced Wall Street financier, who faced 11 criminal counts, was sentenced to 150 years in prison.