Sunday, June 28, 2009

Who is the real villain? BSP or PDIC

The consultant pointed out that BSP has come out with relatively clean hands from the Legacy debacle. He said that PDIC is being vilified by the bank depositors but forget that PDIC, under its 2004 charter, could only examine the banks if directed by the Monetary Board. However a close perusal of charter's Sec. 8, article 8 shows that PDIC could on its own initiate and "conduct examination of banks with prior approval of the Monetary Board. That, to avoid overlapping of efforts, the examination shall maximize the efficient use of the relevant reports, information, and findings of the Bangko Sentral which it shall make available to the Corporation."

Here's the rub- the BSP had primary responsibility to monitor these banks, and in fact if reports are to believed, had started its investigation of Legacy banks as early as 2001. Why did it take 7 years before it concluded that these banks were conducting unsafe and unsound banking practices? If we are to believe the allegations of ex-PDIC President Ricardo Tan that it had conducted its own investigations of these same banks in 2005 where it found anomalies and irregularities, then why didn't BSP move earlier against these banks? From the aforementioned article above, BSP would have shared its 2001-2004 findings with the PDIC, and since both investigations lead to the same conclusion, then why didn't the BSP and for that matter, the PDIC file charges against the bank officers?

The consultant offered a juicy tidbit: when the combined SEC and NBI teams raided the Makati offices of the Legacy Consolidated Plans, they found several boxes of documents belonging to the Legacy banks. The PDIC got wind of this development, and requested that it be turned over to them. The SEC refused, and the PDIC had to go to court to compel the SEC for the turnover of the documents to them. Can you imagine that? SEC not cooperating with PDIC. BSP turning down PDIC's loan request of P14 billion. And who ends up the loser and victim of this inter-agency intramurals? As usual, the depositors. No wonder Celso and his ilk were and are able to milk the public: these gov't agencies cannot get their act together.

But wait... isn't that the SEC whose commissioner was tagged as having received almost P7 million worth of goodies from CGA? We heard from the grapevine that during the height of senate and congressional investigations of the Legacy mess and SEC Commissioner Jesus Martinez, big boss caused the family of Martinez to be billeted in Hongkong, shades of Jun Lozada. Rumor has it that the family of the commissioner was held hostage so as not to implicate the boss of Celso and Speaker. Jesus Martinez kept his mouth shut until death shut him up for good (or bad). If this rumor is true, then this explains why Celso is scot-free while his US counterparts- Bernie Madoff and Robert Allen Stanford- have been indicted for numerous charges, and more importantly, been stripped of their assets.

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