Senator Roxas, 6 Legacy victims sue Celso de los Angeles, 19 other Legacy officers

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today promised he will protect the welfare of victims of the financial scam of discredited businessman Celso de los Angeles as he blamed the Arroyo Administration for coddling him and allowing his scam to victimize thousands of hapless citizens.

Roxas made the commitment as he and six victims of the Legacy scam filed a case of syndicated estafa against De los Angeles and 19 other board members and directors of the dissolved Legacy Consolidated Plans Inc. (LCPI) before the Makati Prosecutors’ Office.

Syndicated estafa is a non-bailable crime.

Roxas, chairman of the Senate committee on trade and commerce, joined the 6 Legacy pre-need plan holders in suing De los Angeles and his cohorts after a short march and a rally in front of the Makati City Hall attended by almost a hundred Legacy victims.
"Ngayong umagang ito kasama ninyo ako para tumindig laban sa katarantaduhan ni Celso at ng pamahalaang kumukupkop sa mga kagaya niya (Today, I stand with you to fight against the criminal acts of Celso and the government that has protected him and others like him)," Roxas declared angrily before leading the group of complainants in filing of the case.

"Hindi ko kayo pababayaan. Itigil na ang panloloko sa taumbayan! Ipaglaban ang karapatan ng lahat ng mahihirap na ninakawan ng pangarap! Patuloy tayong maninindigan na isiwalat ang pagnanakaw ni Celso at mga kapwa niya ahas, at ikulong ang lahat ng nagsasamantala sa taumbayan! (I will not abandon you! I promise to stop this grand scheme to mislead our people! I will fight especially for the right of the poor robbed of their future by this thievery! I will continue to stand up and expose the shenanigans of Celso and others like him! Let us jail all those who continue to abuse the rights of our people!)," he promised the Legacy victims and members of their family who joined him in the short rally.
In leading the list of complainants, Roxas represented six of the Legacy victims who are Mrs. Jovita "Nanay Beth" Calleja, Mrs. Aurora "Nanay Au" Soriano, Mrs. Arlene Basco, Mrs. Corazon Villon, Mrs. Lolita Duria and Mr. Antonio Evangelista, who all executed a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) for Roxas to represent them in the case.

The 6 Legacy victims lost a total of PhP 705,101.40 in premium payments because of the collapse of the Legacy pre-need companies following the exposure of De los Angeles’ financial mismanagement, wanton abuse of company funds and a convoluted financial scheme that lured thousands to invest billions of pesos in a Ponzi-type business operation.

Named as respondents in the complaint were Legacy owner De los Angeles, his wife Maria Concepcion de los Angeles, son Niccolo Martin de los Angeles, Purita de los Angeles, Victorino de los Angeles, Atty. Christine Limpin, Madeline Cobbarubias, Atty. Norman Tiongson, Bishop Ignacio Soliba, Ladho Chugani, Ricardo Solomon, Arcatomy S. Guarin, Elvira P. Garcia, Cecille Invencion, Monina Vierneza-Dio, Edgardo Marasigan, Elvira Nebre, Teresita Tica, Josefina Castaneda, Agnes Santiago.

The Ilonggo senator said De los Angeles and his cohorts are liable for syndicated estafa, which the Revised Penal Code defines as the deliberate misuse of funds generated from the public committed by five or more people. He said there was clear deceit and misrepresentation by the respondents as shown by the fraudulent and deceiving financial products and promises of highly unusual and irregular returns, like the double your money scheme, with no intent to pay the policy-holders.

He said it had also been established during the Senate hearings into the Legacy plight that De los Angeles and his partners misappropriated the funds for the planholders, with evidence presented to the committee pointing to millions of pesos being diverted to De los Angeles’ personal benefits and other non-company related expenses, such as yacht repairs, utility and medical bills and his own campaign expenses during the 2007 elections.
"The respondents evidently conspired and confederated with one another to achieve a common purpose, which is to misappropriate and convert the pre-need funds for their personal benefit. The totality of the circumstances as previously narrated clearly shows that they are united in this criminal design. The fraudulent scheme could not have been perpetrated without the knowledge and direct participation and cooperation of all the respondents who are all officers of the Legacy Group of Companies," the complaint stated.
It likewise alleged that "the funds of the pre-need companies were commingled with the funds of other companies belonging to the Legacy Group of Companies" to the detriment of planholders, whose investments were used for purposes other than that for which they were invested by the policy-makers.
"Legacy funds, like all other pre-need funds, are held in trust on behalf of planholders. Such funds were disbursed by Celso de los Angeles with grave abuse of confidence," it added, stressing: "The intricate and elaborate organizational structure of the companies coupled with the existence of interlocking officers and interrelated services show that the Legacy Group of Companies is a vehicle intended to illegally amass funds from the public without drawing suspicion that these funds are actually intended to be converted to personal and other uses of herein respondent Celso de los Angeles and his cohorts."

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