BDO closes ‘Jose Velarde’ account

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SIX years after former president and now Manila mayor Joseph Estrada has been found guilty of plunder, the bank account of “Jose Velarde” has finally been emptied and closed.

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A senior official of top seeded Banco de Oro (BDO) said in her three-page sworn statement that Investment Management Account (IMA) Trust Account 101-78056-1 has already been “terminated” after all its assets was transferred to the state’s name.

In her recount of events, Arlene Olandesca, senior manager of the Trust and Investments Group of BDO, said that the bank already forwarded P101.29 million in manager’s check to the Sandiganbayan through retired Sheriff Edgardo Urieta and the 450 million Waterfront Philippine Inc. shares of stock.

Four years after, another P28,769.73 and 300 million Wellex Group shares of stocks were also transferred to the state.

The original copy of the promissory note and chattel mortgage made and executed by the Wellex Group Inc. and a certified true copy of its amendment was also named under the government.

However, the legal services group of BDO clarified while the bank has already complied with and “delivered to the [Sandiganbayan]” most of the assets, bank lawyers told court that it cannot intervene with the share of stocks.

“On the other hand, BDO respectfully manifests that its corporate secretary will not be in a position to transfer the forfeited [750 shares of stock] in favor of the Republic of the Philippines,” lawyer Francisco Gerardo Llamas told the Sandiganbayan.

He said that the responsibility lies in the private corporate secretaries of Wellex Group and Waterfront.

For this, Llamas and the BDO legal group asked the court to “excuse” them from compliance as it is not within their bounds of duty.

BDO asked the court in an earlier pleading that upon the delivery of all the remaining assets in the IMA Trust Account, the bank “respectfully moves that it be relieved of any further obligation under the trust account.”

The BDO named Olandesca as its designated officer who could “bind the bank” in the delivery of all assets in the IMA to the anti-graft court.

Olandesca said in her sworn statement that all the assets under the name Jose Velarde has been “delivered by BDO to the Sandiganbayan.”

“Accordingly, IMA Trust Account No 101-78056-1 has already been terminated,” the bank official stated.

BDO has inherited the controversial account after acquiring Equitable-PCI bank, where the original Velarde account was opened sometime in 1999.

JOHN CONSTANTINE G. CORDON

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