For the past week or so, the public had a front row seat to the media spectacle spawned by the capture of Globe Asiatique president Delfin Lee, one of the country’s most wanted fugitives and the alleged mastermind of the P6.6 billion Pag-Ibig housing loan scam.
What the media coverage seemed to miss, however, was the “elephant in the room” – the “enablers” or the Pag-Ibig officials who made Lee’s scam possible.
Lee obviously couldn’t have walked off with billions without the help of high-ranking Pag-Ibig bureaucrats. And if we were to go by the same Department of Justice (DOJ) resolution indicting Lee for syndicated estafa, the Aquino administration has already identified a few of them.
In its 50-page resolution dated August 10, 2011, the DOJ recommended that an investigation be initiated by the Ombudsman for violation of the anti-graft law against former and present officials of Pag-Ibig, including then chief executive officers Romero “Miro” Quimbo, Jaime Fabian and other senior officers.
Oddly, while the Palace appears hell bent on putting Lee behind bars judging by its recent
statements, it has been deafeningly quiet about going after Pag-Ibig officials implicated in the housing loan racket. In fact, many folks are wondering why the Palace isn’t gunning for Pag-Ibig executives linked to the scam with the same fervor as when they went after former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Indeed, it’s quite disappointing that almost two year after Lee’s indictment, no top Pag-Ibig official has been charged, let alone arrested and jailed, for this billion-peso scam.
Is Malacañang’s seeming apathy due to the fact that one of those being implicated in the scam is a congressman and spokesman of the Liberal Party (LP) and a close PNoy ally?
Being one of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s fair-haired boys, Quimbo was appointed as Pag-Ibig’s deputy chief executive officer in 2001 soon after the ouster of ex-President Erap Estrada. A year later, Quimbo was promoted by Arroyo to president and chief executive officer, a post he held until 2009.
It was during Quimbo’s term that Pag-Ibig began its pilot housing loan program for Other
Working Groups (OWG) or workers who are not formally employed but earn money through small businesses. This OWG program is what enabled Lee to siphon billions of pesos in loan proceeds from Pag-Ibig using “ghost” buyers.
Insiders say Pag-Ibig relaxed its requirements to make it easier and faster for Globe Asiatique to obtain loan approvals for its alleged buyers. This much was confirmed by Lee who confessed that the OWG program and its adjusted rules, including the reduction of membership requirements, were offshoots of a “compromise” between him and Quimbo.
The scheme was apparently so successful that some P1.925-billion was released to Lee’s Globe Asiatique during Quimbo’s term.
Understandably, Quimbo is now trying to wash his hands of any culpability in the housing loans cam. But however hard he tries, many folks remain skeptical and suspicious, not the least because Quimbo suffers from a lack of credibility.
Take for instance his pronouncements when he left Pag-Ibig in March 2009. At that time, Quimbo declared before the media: “I filed my terminal leave and resignation [as president of Pag-Ibig]in order to be able to pursue my political plans in Marikina.”
Now that he’s aligned with the Aquino administration, Quimbo claims he was sacked by Arroyo as Pag-Ibig chief, apparently trying to portray himself as a persecuted victim of his former boss.
How’s that for a quick turnaround?
Only in the Philippines.
PH’s pioneer dentist
It was a century ago when a gentleman from San Pablo, Laguna, Gregorio Tiglao Librojo, established his dental practice at the Black Building at the corner of Avenida (Rizal Avenue) and Carriedo in Manila.
Since then, three more generations of Librojos have followed his footsteps.
Among the dentists in the Librojo clan are two of Gregorio’s sons (Rogelio and Jose), grandsons (Rogelio Angelo Jr., Allen and Andre) and great grandsons (Giorgio and Miguel). Another great-grandson, Lorenzo, will hopefully join their ranks soon.
This family of dentists has an interesting ancestry. We were told that their original surname was really “Crisostomo.” Their ancestors—Pedro Crisostomo and his siblings—changed their surname in order to avoid reprisal from Spanish officials after a relative was unmasked as a rebel chieftain.
According to an old family tale, while gathered around a bonfire one fateful night, the Crisostomo clan tossed their “libreta de familia”—the family record book of birth, marriages and death—into the flames to erase all traces of their lineage. As the book burned, it gave a distinct red hue to the flame.
It is this combination of “libro” (or book) and “rojo” (or “red” in Spanish) that became the new surname of the clan—a clan that would later produce one of the country’s pioneer dentist.
Our warmest congratulations to the Librojo Dental Practice on their 100th anniversary this month.