Is this why they’re called commissioners ? Because they get a piece of the action every time ?
Whistleblower Carolina HiÃ±ola, chief executive officer of the shuttered and bankrupt Legacy Consolidated Plans Inc. (LCPI), identified SEC Commissioner Jesus Martinez as Celso De Los Angeles’ “connect” with the Securities and Exchange Commision. Martinez has brought the sleaze level at the SEC, already scandalous to begin with, to new heights.
Testifying at the resumption of the Senate inquiry into the big-time Legacy scam, Ms. HiÃ±ola categorically pointed to Martinez as Legacy’s patron in the SEC, which allowed the Ponzi-like set-up to flourish. Martinez provided Legacy all the official protection his position could accord, in exchange for cash.
Legacy Group Chief Finance Officer Namnama Santos also implicated Congressman Ed Zialcita of Paranaque as one of those who received regular payouts from De Los Angeles. Zialcita is a cousin of Martinez.
De Los Angles paid for the house of Martinez’ son amounting to five million pesos and gave Martinez another P1.475 million for the purported purchase of a Ford Expedition. Martinez could not deny the transactions, except to say that it was allegedly his son involved. But why would Legacy enter into multimillion peso transactions with Martinez junior if he were not his father’s son ? And how about this for chutzpah – Martinez used a corporation named “Spin Management” as a vehicle for the questionable transactions. Cute. Except that the spin did not work well enough.
And there’s more. Martinez is apparently a top-level officer of of the party-list group Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption or CIBAC, together with Congressman Joel Villanueva, son of preacher and former presidential candidate Bro. Eddie Villanueva. Talk about pious frauds. There’s a special place in hell reserved for people like Martinez (actually the 8th circle of hell according to Dante’s Inferno, meant for fakes, crooks and hypocrites).
And what was SEC Chair Fe Barin doing while all these was happening under her nose ? Not a damn thing. She claims to have been totally clueless as to what Martinez was up to. And she now belatedly promises an investigation into the whole sorry mess.
What should be done immediately is to transfer the regulatory functions over pre-need companies from the SEC to some other agency in order to spare the trusting and unsuspecting public further grief. If not the Insurance Commission, since pre-need plans are not insurance from the technical standpoint, then any office capable of overseeing financial and quasi-banking transactions. The SEC has shown itself to be totally inept in looking after the public interest. Perhaps deliberately so.