(Article published in the
issue of Manila Standard Today)
It has been my practice all these over ten years of weekly column writing to publish, within the constraints of space and other reasonable bounds, the reactions sent to me by my readers. Especially those disagreeing with me irrespective of how disagreeable they may be.
Accordingly, I reproduce herein the substantive parts of the e-mail that I received from Mr. Perfecto Yasay, alleged spokesman of Banco Filipino, who reacted to my column last week on Hon. Sergio Apostol’s impressive interrogation skills exhibited during the hearing of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries last May 17.
Mr. Yasay wrote thus:
“I do not intend to
correct the statements made in the May 17 hearing of the House Committee on
Banks and Financial Intermediaries which are clearly the opinions of the
persons who expressed them. I question however your objectivity in
presenting these statements in the interest of accuracy and fairness and it
appears, that as a self-professed Trust Guru, you cannot be trusted on this
matter. Clearly your biased objective was to further incite the depositors
against Banco Filipino in order to deflect the Committtee's and the
public's focus on the legality of the summary closure of Banco Filipino and
placing it under receivership, to support the insidious criminal plot of the
BSP of ruining the bank and blame it on its management.
The probing questions of
the Committee's chairman, Rep. Sergio Apostol was (sic) the offshoot of
revelations in the hearing that, in carrying out its functions as receiver PDIC
took immediate steps of terminating the staff and employees of the bank and
canceling their wages and benefits without regard to the requirements in the
Labor Code or of due process. As Receiver its duty is first to determine
whether Banco Filipino is solvent or can continue in business with safety
to its depositors, creditors and the general public. Thus, its hasty action
against Banco Filipino employees manifested a predisposition, if not a
premeditated intention, to permanently close the bank and liquidate its
assets in violation of the law.
As in previous occasions, I ignore, like the idle wind that I heed not, ad hominems and remarks on my objectivity and the branding of my conclusions as “outright wrong and malicious.” Neither do I, nor anybody, need to accept Mr. Yasay’s version of why and how Hon. Sergio Apostol extracted the whereabouts, or lack thereof, of the BF Employees Retirement Fund. The transcript of the recording of what actually transpired during the Committee hearings is open for the reading of anyone who wishes to see how masterfully Congressman Apostol did it.
I focus, instead, on the heart of Mr. Yasay’s fact- challenged reaction. Mr. Yasay would like people to believe that “PDIC took immediate steps of terminating the staff and employees of the bank and canceling (sic) their wages and benefits without regard to the requirements in the Labor Code or of due process.” He takes this as a manifestation of “a predisposition, if not a premeditated intention, to permanently close the bank and liquidate its assets in violation of the law.”
Perfectly wrong facts, Mr. Yasay. PDIC, although it had power to do so under Section 10 of its charter, did not terminate (and as of the time of this writing, has not terminated any of) the employees of BF. Following its standard operating procedure, PDIC had only suspended the employees Banco Filipino and, in fact, had asked those needed for the turnover to keep on working. This is very clear from transcript. With the factual premise wrong, logically, so is the gratuitous conclusion.
But, let’s go beyond logic and get to the facts: Where really is the BF Employees Retirement Fund right now?
Is it part of the cash assets found in the bank which cash upon the bank’s closure amounted to only less than Php 300 million cash? Or is it amongst the few remaining hundred millions in the form of securities, including preferred shares in Banco Filipino itself?
Or is the retirement fund of the employees buried in real estate which was booked at Php 3 billion?
Or is it part of the almost Php13 billion in accumulated losses which Banco Filipino booked, under Mr. Yasay’s watch as “assets”, a most outrageous mockery of accounting principles?
Or was the BF Employees Retirement Fund part of the fees that were paid to Mr. Yasay and his bunch of lawyers, which “legal” fees in 2010 alone, allegedly amounted to more than Php 100 million?Facts, Mr. Yasay. What we need are facts, just facts.