More than 12,000 soldiers, cops are victims of Legacy

Posted at 03/27/09 8:02 PM

The nation's soldiers and policemen have not been spared from the multibillion-peso fund scam of the Legacy Group of Companies.

Officials of the Armed Forces and Police Savings and Loan Association Inc. (AFPSLAI) said a total of 12,047 soldiers and policemen gave P317 million in payments to Scholarship Plans Philippines Inc., which is one of the companies under the Legacy Group owned by Sto. Domingo, Albay Mayor Celso de los Angeles.

One of the victims is Col. Ariel Querubin, a bemedalled military officer who figured in a standoff inside Fort Bonifacio linked to an alleged planned coup d’etat against the Arroyo administration. In an interview, Querubin's wife said their family started paying monthly installments to SPPI for the education plans of their children as early 1999 when Querubin was still a batallion commander in Southern Palawan.

She said the monthly installments were deducted from Querubin's salary until the full amount of P109,000 was completed.

Gilberto Tan Acuesta, AFPSLAI senior vice-president for operations, said AFPSLAI  received authorization to deduct regular monthly payments from AFPSLAI members who availed of SPPI educational plans.

He said the organization is set to file a complaint before the Securities and Exchange Commission next week after SPPI omitted almost 5,000 AFPSLAI members from the list of plan holders with fully paid educational plans.

The SEC earlier said holders of plans sold by bankrupt pre-need firms under the Legacy Group should not expect to recoup their investments in full since these companies’ trust fund assets amounted to only P360 million as of end-2008. The assets are in the form of cash, real estate, government securities, shares of stock and other investments.

Legacy pre-need firms Legacy Consolidated Plans, Inc., All Asia Corp. and Scholarship Plan Phils., Inc. all closed in January.

"For a start, all fully paid and availing educational, life and pension plans of these companies shall be paid proportionate sums of money from the proceeds of the trust funds not later than April 30," the regulator said.

"The plan holders are advised not to expect the claims under their plans to be paid in full."

The owners and executives of the Legacy group of companies are facing several syndicated estafa cases related to its failed 13 rural banks and preneed company. Its owner—Mayor Celso de los Angeles of Santo Domingo, Albay—is also facing several congressional investigations. Report from Maricar Bautista, ABS-CBN News