Roxas: AFP launches info drive among soldiers on Legacy scam

The Armed Forces of the Philippines leadership has began an information dissemination drive among its field officers to inform them of the fund mess that Celso de los Angeles' Legacy group is involved in, Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas said today.

Roxas, chairman of the Senate trade and commerce committee, said the move would give soldiers the chance to recover their hard-earned investments in the Legacy-owned Scholarship Plan Philippines Inc. (SPPI).
"Nagpapasalamat tayo kay Gen. Alexander Yano sa tulong na ibinigay niya sa aking opisina upang ipaalam sa ating mga sundalo kung ano na ang estado ngayon ng mga pre-need plans na binili nila mula sa Legacy (I would like to thank Gen. Yano for helping us inform our soldiers in the field about the status of their pre-need plans bought from Legacy)," he said.
The Armed Forces and Police Savings Loan Association (AFPSLAI) said more than 12,000 of its members are planholders of SPPI's educational, pension and memorial plans, with a total investments of more than P300 million.
"Hindi natin pababayaan ang ating mga sundalo at kapulisan na niloko din nitong si Celso de los Angeles. Tutulungan ko silang habulin si Celso hanggang maibalik sa kanila ang mga pinaghirapan nilang pera (I will never turn my back on our soldiers and policemen who were duped by Celso de los Angeles. I will help them run after Celso until they get back the monies they have invested in Legacy)," the Visayan senator said.
He lamented that the government, until now, has not lifted a finger to help victims of Legacy's illegal pyramiding scheme,
"Hanggang ngayon ay wala pa rin tayong nakikita mula sa Office of the President, mula sa Pangulo mismo, para parusahan ang mga opisyal na nagkamali o nakipagkuntsabahan para magawa ng Legacy at ni Celso de los Angeles ang panlolokong ito. Walang utos na ibinibigay sa sa DOJ para maisampa na ang mga kaso, walang mga sinisibak sa pwesto na mga at walang tulong na nakukuha ang mga kawawa nating kababayang niloko ni Celso (Until now we have not seen any action from the Office of the President, or from the president herself, to punish the officials who have erred or who connived with Legacy and Celso de los Angeles for him to be able to carry out this grand scam. There is no existing order for the DOJ to file cases and there is no dismissal order for anyone)," he noted.
He added: "Pero kahit na wala tayong makitang hustisya mula sa pamahalaang ito, hindi tayo susuko, lalaban tayo. (But even while justice seems slippery, we will not give up, we will carry on.)"

He vowed to run after De los Angeles until all the investments made by his planholders have been returned.
"Kung ang akala ng mga nasa kapangyarihan ay mapapagod na lang tayo at hahayaang mamatay ang isyung ito, nagkakamali sila. Hinding hindi tayo susuko hanggang makamit ng taumbayan ang katarungan. Lalaban tayo! (If those in power think our interest on this is short-lived and that eventually the whole thing would die a natural death, then they are wrong. I will never give up until I get justice for our people. I will fight for them)," he said.
Yano has written the senator to inform him that radio messages have been sent to "all the major services and other subordinate commands/units nationwide in order to widely disseminate" information about the dissolution of Legacy's pre-need firms.
"The leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines deeply appreciates your concern for all the affected soldiers, especially those who are serving in the field and unaware of the implications of their inaction regarding their claims as plan holders of the said company," he said in his letter dated April 13.
He added the senator's move "means a lot to the financial needs of the concerned soldiers and will certainly uplift their morale to further serve our country."

Roxas has asked Yano to help inform soldiers in the field about the closure of the Legacy pre-need firms and the deadline set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the filing of claims against De los Angeles' companies.

It was detained Marine Col. Ariel Querubin who called the senator's attention to the plight of the soldiers, saying that thousands of AFP officers like himself have bought SPPI shares as early as 1999 while they were assigned in various camps throughout the country.

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