The Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund) on Tuesday strongly denied allegations of Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th that the agency has been favoring some contractors.
“We work hard to earn the trust of our 14.6 million members. Please do not sully the good name of Pag-IBIG Fund with baseless allegations of an anomaly,” the Pag-IBIG Fund President and Chief Executive Officer, lawyer Darlene Marie Berberabe, said.
She was reacting to the senator’s statement on Monday that Vice President Jejomar Binay, chairman of the Pag-IBIG Board of Trustees, is also being investigated for alleged housing anomalies.
But Berberabe vehemently denied Trillanes’ claim that the agency is involved in an anomaly that favors contractors identified with the Vice President.
“In the strongest terms, I deny that Pag-IBIG Fund favors any stakeholder. On the contrary, we pride ourselves with having leveled the playing field when the new management and the new board assumed office in 2010,” she said.
“To say that we favor contractors in awarding housing projects is simply false because we do not award projects, nor do we deal with contractors. It is unfortunate that an allegation that discredits the integrity of Pag-IBIG Fund is made, but the basis is not provided. When you do your work professionally, and regard principles of fairness and integrity with the highest standard, it is most disheartening to be dragged into an alleged anomaly that has no basis,” Berberabe added.
According to her, it is regrettable that Pag-IBIG Fund is being pulled into political controversies.
“We have endeavored to institute reforms since 2010 to ensure that there will not be another Globe Asiatique [GA]. Even if such reforms were not popular, we made them happen because we were focused on doing what is right for the Fund that is owned by our members.”
In 2010, Pag-IBIG Fund filed a syndicated estafa case against GA President Delfin Lee and his cohorts, which led to the prosecution of several GA officers and a Pag-IBIG employee.
The reforms introduced after the GA controversy included the lifting of the authority granted to developers to approve home loans and the strict validation of the identity and capacity to pay of loan borrowers.
“Since we implemented these reforms, we have significantly improved the integrity of our portfolio. We improved our underwriting thereby resulting in better performing loans ratio. We also outsourced the collection of our non-performing loans. As a result, we converted almost 50 percent of our non-performing loans back to performing loans, a huge feat in the housing industry,” Berberabe said.
“Pag-IBIG’s performance and accomplishments in the last four years speak for themselves. In the third quarter of 2014, Pag-IBIG’s net income already reached P13.09 billion, comparable to the net income of the country’s biggest banks for the same period,” she added. “Pag-IBIG would not have been able to achieve and maintain its robust financial standing and credit P10.1 billion worth of dividends to its members in 2013, the highest in the Fund’s history, if the allegations of shady deals are true.”
Berberabe noted that the Commission on Audit has issued an “Unqualified Opinion” in 2012 and 2013 for Pag-IBIG Fund. She said the “Unqualified Opinion” finding is a testament to the fact that Pag-IBIG is not only focused on performing and exceeding targets in its housing and savings mandates, but also in good corporate housekeeping and thus good governance.
“If we are favoring just a few, we will not earn the trust of our housing partners and Pag-IBIG members,” she said.