Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Investing in the Philippines - Pitfalls and Traps!

This is fundamentally how we manged to obtain more than enough money to live off, with only a meager annuity (£300/month approx) and not having to work.

We (myself, my wife, and her daughter) deposited Php7.5M in some 5 x Legacy Group Banks, and were receiving Php141,666.67pm in Tax Free Interest payments, in Total. That is up to middle of December 2008, when all 12 x Legacy Group Banks got closed by the 'Monetary Board'.

But these Bank Deposits are covered by the PDIC, so we should get paid our insured deposits. Trouble is we did not anticipate ALL the Banks we had deposits with, closing at the same time, when only 1 x Legacy Group Bank, had previously closed, since 1997 - some 11 years.

I had anticipated that it might take up to 6 months (since PDIC website gave this as 'worst case' scenario). They PDIC website also gave notices where the PDIC proudly announced a 'Turn around Time (TAT)' of 10 x working days, or less ie single digit TAT!


MRB Date
Bank Closed
Claims Announced
Claims Filed
To Claim
Since Claim
Pilipino Rural Bank
Rural Bank of Bais
Bank of East Asia
Phil. Countryside Rural Bank
Rural Bank of DARBCI

The above is a Summary on the Number of 'Working Days' the PDIC have had for processing and validating claims, prior to payments being made. We have been paid 9 out of 10 Claims for 'Bank of East Asia' (my wife still waiting for her Php250,000 Single Account payment). I have also received 1 x 'half share' of my Joint Account, with my wife, for our Claim @ Pilipino Rural Bank.

My wife was asked to submit a signed and Notarized Affidavit of Co-Ownership (as she had for her 2 x Joint Accounts @ BEA). But that was over 3 weeks ago, and still no payment check from the PDIC for Pilipino rural Bank!

There are therefore still 8 x outstanding Claims from us, for Pilipino Rural Bank. This still leaves 9 x outstanding Claims at the 3 other Banks we had Deposits with.

At least we have been paid about 20% of our Nett Claims (some Deposits at 3 Banks had 'Advance Interest', and we anticipate up to 99% of that payment being deducted from Insured deposit).

I know some Depositors, who have yet to receive anything, from the PDIC, so far!

SECTION 14. Whenever an insured bank shall have been closed by the Monetary Board pursuant to Section 30 of R.A. 7653, payment of the insured deposits on such closed bank shall be made by the Corporation as soon as possible either (1) by cash or (2) by making available to each depositor a transferred deposit in another insured bank in an amount equal to insured deposit of such depositor: Provided, however, That the Corporation, in its discretion, may require proof of claims to be filed before paying the insured deposits, and that in any case where the Corporation is not satisfied as to the viability of a claim for an insured deposit, it may require final determination of a court of competent jurisdiction before paying such claim: Provided, further, That failure to settle the claim, within six (6) months from the date of filing of claim for insured deposit, where such failure was due to grave abuse of discretion, gross negligence, bad faith, or malice, shall, upon conviction, subject the directors, officers or employees of the Corporation responsible for the delay, to imprisonment from six (6) months to one (1) year: Provided, furthermore, That the period shall not apply if the validity of the claim requires the resolution of issues of 23 facts and or law by another office, body or agency including the case mentioned in the first proviso or by the Corporation together with such other office, body or agency. (As amended by R.A. 9302, 12 August 2004)
I am no Lawyer, but I will be consulting with one since it is now 5 months since submitting Claims at 4 x Legacy Group Banks.

I want to know, if we can legitimately files a Claim for "grave abuse of discretion, gross negligence, bad faith, or malice" against the PDIC, for not making Claims payment "as soon as possible", once they fail to make payment "within six (6) months from the date of filing of claim for insured deposit", If during this 6 months ,since filing ones 'Insured Deposit Claim', the PDIC made no effort to communicate ,via Telephone, regular mail, or e-mail, for further documentation and proof of valid Deposit, from the Depositor, then they can hardly go asking asking a "court of competent jurisdiction", if the PDIC themselves, have not attempted to determine "viability of a claim for an insured deposit" from the Depositor themselves, first?

Actually this DELAY in getting paid our Insured Deposits, by the PDIC, is only part of our financial crisis story.

We had also placed some funds in Legacy Consolidated Plans Inc.  

This was an SEC Licensed Pre-Needs Plan Dealer, according to the SEC website. Investment Scam Checklist Legacy Consolidated Plans Inc. seemed to pass that Investment Scam Checklist of the SEC.

It was only when the Pre-Needs Buy Back (PNBB2) product was being withdrawn at the end of October 2007, that I decided to risk some funds that I could perhaps afford to lose.

Why take the RISK as there was no Insurance or Guarantee - other than Philippines 'Anti - Bouncing Check' Law - Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 (BP 22)

An Act Penalizing the Making or Drawing and Issuance of a Check Without Sufficient Funds or Credit and For Other Purposes.
Because I was GREEDY (if I have to be honest)! Php100K was the minimum Investment, that promised to become Php200K on Maturity of the Pension Plan, on Maturity in 3 Years time (PNBB2 plan).

The 'Buy-Back Agreement' that was asked to be signed, offered the opportunity to get i) 20% back IMMEDIATELY (so only Php80K Nett Investment required), ii) the 180K Balance, paid over Quarterly Installments over 36 Months.

This meant one got 75% of their Nett Investment back after 12 Months, and 93.75% after 15 months. The APR was 41.67%pa so that was the 'attraction', coupled with getting 17.5% of the Total Return (approx 50% Interest and 50% Capital), with each Check cashed.

Following the Senate Hearings into the Pre-Need Industry it has been shown that the SEC was woefully unequipped to Control and Regulate the Pre-Needs Industry.

SEC moved to DTI after pre-need mess

Well I was ignorant of the details revealed in those Senate Hearings, but I did not keep quiet on learning about this and reading the Pre-Need code ammendments, still waiting to be come law! In the 'Money Smarts' section of ' The Inquirer', I read

Tales of woe from Legacy scam victim


Posted under Pre-Need, scams

So I posted a COMMENT in reply:-
I had signed up to ‘Pinoy Money Talk’ and posted (Bitster) about my views on this Legacy Consolidated Plans “Pre-Needs Buy Back Plan”

You can read it here:- http://www.pinoymoneytalk.com/forum
Basically one invests a minimum of Php100K, into a 3 Year ‘Classique B’ Pension Plan. ‘LCPI’ claim such Pension Plan offered a Maturity Value, Double that of the Pension Plan Contract Value. Hence ‘DYM3′ or “Double Your Money in 3 Years” scheme.
Perhaps this does sound “Too Good to be True” but I thought it worth checking out.
1) If one follows the SEC Anti SCAM Flow Chart, Legacy Consolidated Plans Inc. seemed to pass all the checks, suggesting it was NOT a ‘SCAM’!
It appeared to be a genuine Pre-Needs Company, Registered and Licensed by the SEC.
(As of September 9, 2008)
Carolina G. Hinola - President 330 The World Center Bldg.. Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. Makati City Fixed Value Education/Life/Pension 148826 E-mail: www legacy com.pn
SEC Registration Number = 148826
2) At the time I placed my 1st PNBB2 investment, I was NOT aware of thePre-Need NEW RULES?
Have you come across this Document and actually read it?
The PDF document I created from that URL is dated 27/09/2007 19:25:33 - after my PNBB2 investment.
3) Rule 13. Disclosure to Prospective Planholders
Rule 13. Disclosure to Prospective Planholders
13.1. No Pre-Need Plans registered with the SEC shall be sold unless an Information Brochure has been filed pursuant to Rule 4.1,par.4 (c) and approved by the SEC together with the Registration Statement and is made available to the prospective Planholder . Had I known about this Rule 13, perhaps I should have refused to part with my money until they showed me a copy of this SEC approved Information Brochure and Registration Statement.
To my knowledge LCPI have NEVER made such Documents available to prospective planholder, so they are in breach of Rule 13, and the SEC are lax in not enforcing it.
4) So in ignorance of that particular RULE 13, I went ahead and bought a 3 Year ‘Classique B’ Pension Plan.
Unlike many ‘Educational Pre-Needs Plans, whereby you make installment payments, monthly over a number of years, then there is a payout on Maturity, this 3 Year ‘Classique B’ Pension Plan. that we bought, was ‘Fully Paid’ @ Day 1.
5) Trust Fund Protection Had this ‘INVESTMENT’ not been hiding behind the face of a legitimate Pre-Needs Pension Plan, we might NOT have put any money into it!
I certainly would not have parted with my funds, if it was Legacy Card Inc. directly promising to pay us Php180,000 over 3 Years via Quarterly Post Dated Checks or Credits to a OneCard ‘Pera Agad’ MasterCard.
Rule 16. The Trust Fund
16.1. To guarantee the delivery of Benefits such as monetary consideration, cost of services rendered or property delivered, deposits shall be made by the issuer into a Trust Fund to be established for each type of plan in accordance with the rates used in the actuarial studies submitted under Rule 4.1, par. 7 (i) (C).
16.2. The minimum limits of the deposit contribution to the Trust Fund shall be 45% of the amount collected for life plans and 51% of the total amount collected for other plans unless a higher deposit contribution is determined by the actuary and duly approved by the Commission.
So according to Rule 16. The Trust Fund, of such 3 Year ‘Classique B’ Pension Plan, should have received 51% of all those Pension Plans SOLD!
6) If one does research into these SEC Rules regarding Trust Funds, since it is clear from these RULES, that funds of one Trust Fund can not be withdrawn, except under very specific circumstances - like the MATURITY payout or pre-termination.
Only the SEC approved Trustee can withdraw funds from an SEC approved Trustee Bank, so if such Trustee BROKE the RULES, how are we ‘Planholders’ expected to know about this? Clearly the SEC are not aware of this eother since they kept issuing Licence Renewals to LCPI.
So Ron should withdraw this outlandish statement , that we the PNBB2 Planholders “help loot the trust funds of genuine plan-holders”
7) Rule 17. Investment of the Trust Fund
Most Pre-Needs companies are now complaining it is currently impossible to meet 12%pa as the Actuarial figure. Even with compounding 12%pa, on just 51%, will not/ can not grow to 200% in just 3 Years, and conform with SEC Rule 17. Investment of the Trust Fund
8) “Deed of Assignment” the “Buy Back Agreement”
We were forced/coerced to sign such agrreement to avail of this “Double Your Money in 3 Years” promise.
We were not given the OPTION of JUST buying 3 Year Classique B’ PENSION PLAN that had a Maturity Value Double that of the PPC Value.
So we SOLD the Pension Plan to Legacy Card Inc
Maybe this does in fact mean we are no longer the Registered Planholders and thus not entitled to the pay out of the Trust Fund.
But I will wait until a Judge in a Law Court pronounces this, rather than Ron Speers!
i) Did LCPI have a License from SEC to offer a Pension Plan claiming to have a Maturity Value Double the Pension Plan Contract Value, with Maturity just 3 Years later?
I would also like to bet, that no such SEC approved Pension Plan exists that goes from 51% in the Trust Fund, and invested, to cover 200% payout on MATURITY, some 3 Years later!
If not, does this make the SALE, illegal, and thus ‘Null and Void’ and we get given our Nett payment back?
ii) What will be the Judges verdict on that “Deed of Assignment” Contract where the 1st Party, the Owner of the Pension Plan, never got given a copy of the Contract signed by the 2nd Party as Buyer, and Notarized to this effect. ?
OK let us assume the WORST CASE and the Judge awards in favour of Legacy Card Inc. being the legal owners of the Pension Plan.
If Legacy Card Inc, as owners of such PENSION PLAN are able to get hold of the Trust Funds before Maturity Date in any case?
The answer should be NO, unless the Trustee brakes the Rules of the Trust Fund, OR they pre-terminate the PENSION PLAN before Maturity Date.
Read the “GENERAL PROVISIONS” on the Back of the Pension Plan Contract Application form, that we signed to purchase said Pension Plan (that may or may not have been transferred to Legacy Card Inc as new Owner)
XV. PLAN TERMINATION VALUES While this Contract is in force before the Maturity Date, you may surrender this Contract and you will be entitled to termination values in lieu of the pension credits contained in paragraph III, as follows:
PAYMENT RECEIVED, PLAN TERMINATION VALUES Over 80%, 50% of total payments made
After the Termination values are paid to you, we shall be discharged from any liability or obligation in this Contract”
So if Legacy Card Inc, want to pre-terminate, with 100% of gross contract Value paid by us, they should ONLY be entitled to 50% of the Gross Contract Price
But wait Legacy Card Inc, have applied to be dissolved, claiming they are insolvent.
So what happens to all the funds, supposedly paid into the Trust Fund and invested by the Trustee Bank?
Well WE the Pre-Need Buy Back investors, dont have the money and some of us are filing Syndicated Estafa Claims in the Courts, to try and get back at least what we paid in, if not the value of the Checks, no longer honored.
Certainly WE PNBB2 Investors have not taken any money from school children who were expecting Tuition Fees to be paid out of a Scholarship Pre-Needs Plan
David Whittall

I spent Php25,000 chasing after getting some of my Investment back from the Courts. This was acting as Witness for the BSP to procecute Celso et al for Syndicated Estafa. The BSP in return for our assistance, PNBB2 proof, and co-operation, had negotiated with DOJ Secretary Justice, Gonzalas, to waive the Filing Fee.

Well it seems Gonzalas may have been bought off with nice retirement as he now has new Job, working for President GMA. He dis a U-Turn on waiing that Filing Fee when Celso's lawyers lodged a complaint.

They also amazingly manged to have it Ruled that all cases (except the ones in Cagayan de Oro?), had to now be tried in a Regional Trial Court in Makati (regardless of where the 'Crime' took place under Criminal Prosecution)

So I may well have to now find funds to pay the Filing Fee if the new Secretary Justice turns down our appeal to still waive that filing Fee.

· DOJ chief: Filing fee stalling estafa cases vs pre-need firm

· Don’t give preneed firms refuge from victims, Palace appeals to courts

· DOJ helpless vs pre-need firms, says Gonzalez

· New trust fund increase to protect planholders

Filing Fee can be calculated as (Claim Amount x 1%) - Php4,000 for Claims over Php0.5M, ie Claim for Php1M will require a Fillng Fee of Php6,000.00

I also put funds into "V8 MOTORCYCLE & PARTS DEALER" If you read my Blog on that particular Investment, you might better understand why I decided to RISK some funds in that particular investment?

This all started to come apart from January 16th when Post Dated Checks (PDC's) started to 'bounce'. We should have filed BP22 charges back then, rather than trust sole proprieter Catherine L. Soronio, that we might help keep Oriental Bank (RB of Mabinay) and Cardinal Rural Bank afloat, if we deferred payments for 6 months, and payments continued in 3 months time.

We stupidly waited 3 months to then learn Soronio never even paid Zongshen Php10M for the 900 x V8 Motorcycles that had been imported fully knocked down, and then assembled in the Toro Motors warehouse, Mandaue, Cebu.

The fact that Soronio never even spent Php10M of that first batch of Php100M that had been raised by us 'Angel Investors' in July 2008, and was now April 2009, showed it to be a SCAM/Fraud from the beginning - we had been given nothing but empty promises and lies.

So I have so far spent Php6,000 towards group Legal representation, via Atty Estandarte, and Php30,000 as Filing Fee, for 5 x Claims of Php1M in a case of Syndicated Estafa against Catherine L. Soronio et al.

Soronio ignored requests to sit down at a Negotiation Table, to avoid the very real possibility that the City Prosecutor may way uphold, that we do indeed have enough evidence against 5 x conspiring offenders, for a Case of Syndicated Estafa (that is non-bailable crime), she and the other named, may well end up in Jail, for the length of the Trial?

Instead Catherine L. Soronio filed a Complaint Affidavit with Bureau of Immigration.
She was hoping the BI would deport me (and at least 4 other Foreigners who had filed charges of Syndicated Estafa against her)

The ‘premise’ being, that we were ‘working’ as Motorcycle Dealers, and that we did not have the required Employment/Investor Permits.

Soronio also threw in, we had not paid any Income Tax.

All I can say is, if that is her best line of defense, to avoid going to Jail, as Syndicated Estafa is a non-bail able offense, then she was badly advised, and rather ignorant about us ‘investors’ she had stolen funds off with her fraudulent Scam.

Of the 5 Names listed in her Complaint Affidavit to BI, myself and one other, are Permanent Resident Status (13A Visa), and hold ACR I-Cards.

BI clearly made no effort to look up our respective Immigration status before individually a ‘Notice of Hearing’

Here is that bltch Cathy Soronio, who enticed us to part with our funds with 100%pa returns from Zongshen Motorcycles imported from China, Then the Checks start bouncing from Jan 16th 2009. She asks for our co-operation for a 3 month Moratorium, that we reluctantly agree to! Then she wants us to then accept waiting 6 years to get the Balance, rather than 4 months.

Most investors don't find that acceptable, and don't trust Soronio to honor any new agreement, and deliver payment.

Whatever she did with that P350M (figure Quoted by her own Finanance Department to prospective investor considering P10M), it was NOT spent exclusively on V8 Motorcycle Dealer & Parts business?
That was the stipulation in the 'Bank Resolution', agreeing to the 'Bank Guarantee'.

Soronio refuses to come up with any offer of settlement, when sent a 'Demand Letter' advising her of obligations under 'BP22', she just ignores it!

She should not have been surprised to receive Notice of Preliminary Investigation?

She may not have believed that our Atty. Estandarte felt there was enough evidence to file 'Syndicated Estafa', however?

As this is non-bailable offense, Soronio is potentially facing Jail time until Trial concludes or is dismissed.

She naturally does not like the sound of that, so decides to see if she cant have some of the 'trouble makers' removed, by sending a Complaint Affadavit to the BI?

The BI issues a Notice of Hearing to 1 x Brit, 1 x Swede, and 3 x Americans, stating they have 7 days to give a reply or counter affidavit, or face deportation ie they don't attend the Hearing?

I have sent my answer to Atty, Henry B. Tubbad, requesting a 'postponement' of the Hearing, until we are furnished with copies of the Annexe A-E mentioned in Soronio's Complaint Affidavit.

How can we give a counter Affidavit in 7 days, if we are not party to all the evidence the accused presented to justify such action by the BI? It could be something completely different to the MOA, the Bank Guarantee, the Oriental Bank Resolution.

I have requested that any subsequent Hearing be held in Cebu for a number of reasons including my heart condition, and the fact the complainant, her Company and the Bank offering the Guarantee, are all in Cebu. I also mentioned that the BI in Mandaue, Cebu were the ones to issue my 13(A) 12 months probationary in October 2002, then 12 months later the conversion to permanent 13(A) Visa, giving me permanent Residence status here in the Philippines. It was also BI Mandaue, Cebu, that issued me with my ACR I-Card No.239566 on June 16, 2006.

I also included an 'Exemption Certificate' issued by the Department of Labor, in Cebu, stating that I, as a Permanent Resident, evidenced by that ACR I-Card No. 239566, am exempt the need for an 'Alien Employment Permit' (AEP).

Atty. Estandarte does not believe this is applicable as all Investors Visa's issued by BI, are not relevant to this 'Dealership MOA contract, that states:-


This agreement, entered into by and between:

RDT Building, Tipolo, Mandaue City, Philippines
represented by: ALBINO V, LIGAN, Authorized Representative


1) The First Party is engaged in the DEALERSHIP Business of Motorcycle and Parts ,
V8 (brand) - Honda Technology by JIANGSU ZONGSHEN Motor Tricycle Manufacturing Co. LTD.
2) The First Party offers the Second Party a DEALERSHIP and INVESTMENT Proposal;
3) It is clearly understood by the Second Party that the First Party shall have the full authority to manage the
business operation
of the DEALERSHIP, so as not to burden the Second Party with the operational direction .
4 ) The First Party shall take charge of all operating expenses of the business such as, Showroom and Office
rentals, Telephone, Electric, Water bills and salaries of Employees and Staffs.
5) The First Party covenants to free the Second Party of any and all liabilities and warranties as a result from
the operation of the DEALERSHIP area Including employment issues and furthermore, the First Party shall
defend the Second Party on all cases arising as such.
6) The Second Party will receive an Official Receipt from the First Party upon investing.
7) It is clearly understood by the Second Party that It takes Fifteen (15) days to process the
following documents and shall be receive by the Second Party by then .
* Postdated checks for the monthly income and the principal amount.
as stated in the Bank Guarantee Agreement .
* Bank Guarantee Agreement
* Memorandum of Agreement
* Certificate of Dealership
B) It is clearly understood by the Second Party that there is no Pre Termination of the DEALERSHIP.
9) The Second Party accepts the DEALERSHIP and INVESTMENT Proposal of the First Party;

TERM OF INVESTMENT: 1 (one) year
MONTHLY INCOME: P 63,333 .34
10) This agreement is freely, voluntarily and knowingly entered into by both parties and that nothing herein
is stipulated that is contrary to law, rules, regulations and public policies.

Cebu City, Philippines,
Certainly neither Catherine L. Soronio, not Professor (James Lucero) mentioned any need for any Investors Visa not Employment Visa when they were taking our money to form these Groups of Php6M?

Why was there no clause on the Contract, asking us to confirm if indeed we held such Visa's (or exempt from doing so), if it was relevant?
I did NOT attend that HEARING, and have not been informed of any alternative Hearing Date?
I presume the BI have read what I wrote and decided that Soronio made them issue such Notice by not having checked our Immigration Status, and gave a false declaration under Oath.