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Scam in the offing

I HAVE always wondered how far people with criminal minds can go to victimize the gullible ones.

I have been a journalist for more than six decades and I have seen more than enough scandals.

Well, here’s something that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas should look into. There’s this ongoing loan scheme set up for the uniformed services under the Department of the Interior and Local Government. On its very face, this scheme is highly questionable, if not downright fraudulent. It goes against all basic rules that financial institutions must live by. It entices retired members of the Philippine National Police and the fire and jail services to apply for a new loan “even if you still have existing ATM loans with others.”

There are large tarpaulin advertisements in and out of Camp Crame urging retirees to avail themselves of what amounts to a “doable loan.” These ads have also appeared on social media.

But, I honestly suspect that the retirees are misled, or even tricked, into acquiring new indebtedness. How can they think they can sustain it? Unless, of course, they were scalawags in uniform while in active service.

I cannot believe that the new loans are being offered purely out of the desire to help the police pensioners or the widows and dependents of deceased policemen. Some greedy souls may have cooked it up as quick and easy way to make money.

The BSP and the PNP leadership should look in this matter to make sure that everything is legitimate.

It is a fair question to ask if there are people in these savings and loans associations and in the PNP who are profiting from this irregular, unusual scheme. Smells like a scam, doesn’t it?

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas exercises supervisory and oversight functions over all SLAs. I recall from past readings that SLAs are required to establish risk asset review systems as a device to ensure the viability and manage the quality of the loans they extend to their members and clients.

I also recall, my gulay, so many incidents involving the pensions and loans extended to the Armed Forces of the Philippines that even involved high military officers and members of the Chief of the Staff of the AFP.

These entities are also mandated to guard against the grant of excessive credit and to anchor their pending approvals on the applicants capacity to pay. They should, therefore, observe certain rules on single-borrower limit. All these are part of any financial institution’s credit risk management practices. It also governs the lending process.

I confess to being bewildered by those announcements. With their pensions as collaterals, some of these retirees have previous loans in hundred thousands and even millions of pesos. Granting them a new loan would be well beyond their capacity to pay.

So what does the Bangko Sentral have to say about this, if it ever went through an approval? Is PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa in complete accord with these deals, that is, if he has time to ever mind it considering how busy he is in the renewed Double Barrel campaign against illegal drugs?

* * *

I don’t know what President Duterte means and intents to do when he rambles during his speeches.

I have no creative imagination—I must fall short of the requirements laid down by Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

I do not know President Duterte at all. I can only rely on what I see on television or read about in newspapers.

Given this, I am puzzled over his recent statement that he would rather believe the members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group who killed Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa while in jail. This, after a Senate committee found that the killing was premeditated and that those responsible should be charged with murder.

Isn’t this prematurely judging the case on the part of the President? The courts still have to determine whether the cops are guilty or not.

* * *

I heard that the President said he would not hesitate to fire his own appointees if they are reported to be engaged in corruption. He did this already with two of his fraternity brothers at the Immigration Bureau who were caught on camera receiving money. He also did it with his former campaign spokesman.

I cheered him for showing political will. People will then believe he is serious about his war on corruption.

But what is happening in the case of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez, who had been bypassed by the Commission on Appointments? Mr. Duterte has supported her in her anti-mining advocacy. Lopez has shown incompetence and lack of knowledge on due process and the rule of law.

She is also reportedly involved in graft and corruption.

Why the President is soft on Lopez puzzles me. Is it because Lopez is an heiress of the influential and powerful media outlet, ABS-CBN?

The CA considers Lopez bypassed for a third time, hence considered rejected. It appears though that Mr. Duterte is keen on reappointing her. What gives?

Then, there’s another appointee, movie actor Cesar Montano, who is being charged with anomalies as head of the Tourism Promotions Board. The President supports him.

So is he or is he not serious in the fight against corruption? Again, I would like to be proven wrong.

I think it is significant that Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez said it would take five years for the government to recover its revenue shortfall after Lopez, ordered the closure of 23 mining firms and suspension of five more, and canceled 75 mineral production sharing agreements.

She did all these without due process. She violated the sanctity of contracts.

Dominguez said the government collected P20.6 billion in taxes from mining in 2012; P24.4 billion in 2013; P32.7 billion in 2014; and P29.57 billion in 2015. Many communities are 90 percent dependent on mining for revenues and 200,000 lost on direct hiring making a total of 1.2 million in both direct and induced jobs. Note that Dominguez and Lopez are co-chairs of the Philippine Mining Coordinating Council.

This is the reason I am confused about Duterte’s stand on Lopez. And to think he considers a total mining ban!

Without mining, what would the President use to make phone calls, eat, tell time, travel? What would Lopez use as her ornaments? What gadgets could she use?

Topics: Emil Jurado , Scam , Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas , loan scheme , Philippine National Police , President Duterte , Regina Lopez , Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez
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