Thursday, March 19, 2009

Money comes easy/ BNB

BnB March 16 – 22, 2009
Money comes easy

This is the beginning. Will so many others come out and rid themselves off fear? They must.

Mrs Joanne Villasenor – Smith, one of perhaps over a hundred people in the same boat, spilled the beans that she was gypped by a sweet talking property developer in QP for no less than 11-M pesos. We know people will say this is the sequence to the ‘Legacy’ scam of Celso de los Angeles. Of a lesser amount but a scam is a scam in what ever form.

Investors like her were promised significantly higher interest rate than those offered by most banks or investment houses. The rate of 3 percent interest per month or 36 percent is so attractive to simply look at some other way. Banks give only 4 percent per annum to most of our deposits.

Money comes easy. Maybe.

For three days last week, through a kin, in a coffee shop, we saw and heard several people spoke about how their millions in investment is imperiled. Might turn to bubbles.

The magnitude of the scam which keep bugging my ears since New Year made me skip the invitation of Solcom Chief Gen. Delfin Bangit to stay for a while with the Rotarians at the Officers Clubhouse upon learning that one brave heart is willing to come out into the open and expose the Graceland Scam.

The 2 inches thick un-cleared checks shown to me by Mrs Smith for a total investment of P11-M, plus that of the banker in Lucena City whose investment with Graceland reached Php23-M proved all about it. According to Villasenor, the total in her group of five is already about P50-M.

The ongoing construction of condominium buildings and units by the lagoon appeared to be what was used by Graceland through a certain Mr. Ronaldo Soliman to entice the investors to pour in money with the developer issuing deeds of assignment to not one but several persons for the same unit. Meaning one specific unit was assigned to 3 or more persons.

Now that the fiasco is exposed with this exclusive story of the Monday Times and Eyewatch, it is expected that the investors will fight it out among themselves for the right to possess the particular condo unit assigned to all of them by Graceland to satisfy the indebtedness.

Soliman was able to it perfectly for some time. I have to believe that he knows that at some point in time, investors will consequently discover the trick.

I cannot exactly tell how many victims there are. Some priest and bishops were said to have pleaded to the property developer to return their money. Because the amount involved were a couple of hundred thousand or under, sources believed some amount may have been returned.

As of the time I am doing this story, only Villasenor-Smith has the brave heart to come into the open. Others in the series of meeting requested that their identities be held for the meantime until the legal actions are in place.

As early as December last year, post dated checks issued to Mrs Smith, a gas station dealer and a banker, among so many others, to cover for months of interest and the principal came bouncing not for the usual ‘drawn against insufficient funds (DAIF) but in all capital letters marked ‘ACCOUNT CLOSED’.

Since the Graceland Properties and Development Inc. Metrobank checking account No 007-242-51258-4 is already closed, it would be wishful thinking to assume that the rest of the many post dated checks remaining in the investors folders will pass the clearing house of the Central Bank.

The checks issued were signed just by one person. Presumably the signature belongs to Soliman according to Smith with whom she was personally in touch during the good gold times and up to now that everything appear to be in shambles.

The Smiths are based in Europe where Douglas the husband is a banker but the nice lady went home hurriedly upon knowing that the checks for months of interests as well as for the principal issued by Graceland isn’t clearing.

The late Dr Villasenor’s daughter was supposed to stay in Lucena just for a very brief period but the Graceland mess forced her to reset dates until all legal actions are in place

Will she and the rest of the victims recover their hard earned money? That, I cant give a good answer. I can only do guesswork and it isn’t good.

For TWM EW and LMT


For the second time, a customer in Sariaya Quezon got a beating from the Meralco office in Lucena City. I know, the case is not remote as Meralco is believed to be as high handed to it’s clientele. Rude. Not just physically but even in making money beyond what is ethical or legal.

Remember that the Courts has found them guilty of overcharging us cutomers. The cost of power for their offices are charged to us.

Three weeks ago, the customers meter was pulled out for non-pament of the monthly bill. Meralco burly men did not bother to ask whether this particular client got his bill or any notice of sort.

This Meralco client did not receive any bill or notice by the time the meter was pulled and service permanently disconnected. In the first instance, the bill was accidentally found in the yard complete with dog manure.

Not surprising because, Meralco messengers has the habit of inserting the bills anywhere in the house or simply thrown in ones yard.

Whether that is part of the scheme Meralco has, I don’t know. I can only think that Meralco will make more money if the service is permanently disconnected. In which case you are forced to have a new connection.

The customer were in total darkness for over two weeks because of the utility firms atrocious manner of disconnecting power service at will. What a monopoly can indeed brought to an ordinary customer.

Mr Rener Musngi, manager for the Meralco Lucena Office, in a text sent to the customer wrote that ‘paiimbestigahan niya’. But whether he investigates or not, damage to the poor client is already done and I don’t know if he’ll be able to recover with the stress and tension generated by Meralco.

There is reason for the attempt of GSIS chair in trying to get control of Meralco in the same way that the investment of San Miguel and PLDT may do wonders for the utility firms customers.


Solcom chief Gen Bangit remain the simple, cool and accommodating gentleman despite the honors, the stars over his shoulder and what we all have in mind that he’ll, in all probability, be the next AFP Chief of Staff.

Of course, not everybody will agree to what he says and what he believes in. What matters is that he listens.

We in the Rotary Club of Lucena would like to thank him for the especial treatment and accommodations accorded the prestigious Club which perhaps change the impression of my fellow Rotarians with the military command right in the City.

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