Yuchengcos face raps for bank law violations

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2009 04:35 PM | Updated as of Feb 04 2009 01:30 AM

The Parents Enabling Parents (PEP) Coalition has filed another case against the Yuchengco Group, this time with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Following the syndicated estafa case filed against 21 officials of Pacific Plans, the PEP Coalition filed a complaint last Thursday against the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC)--also owned by the Yuchengco Group--for "gross and blatant violations of the General Banking Law of 2000 and regulations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Some of the highlights of the PEP Coalition's complaint against RCBC include:

- Violation of specific provisions of the General Banking Law, under Sec. 55, pertaining to prohibited transactions;
- Violation on Sec. 56 for giving unwarranted benefits, advantage, and preference to the Yuchengco Group of Companies and related interests, causing material loss or damage and exposing the trust fund to abnormal risk by entering into transactions grossly disadvantageous to the fund;
- Violation of Sec. X401 prohibiting conflict of interest transactions;
- Violation of Sec. X408 for unsound practices for granting new loans to a borrower which has a past due account;
- Buyout of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) Co. Retirement Fund participation in Uniwide Holdings Inc. during the last quarter of 1998.

PEP Coalition President Philip Piccio said it is prohibited under the General Banking Law of 2000 to have a pre-need company place its funds under a bank of the same owner, as this creates a conflict of interest. The Yuchengco-owned Pacific Plans has placed the funds of its planholders with RCBC under trust.

What's worse, Piccio said, is that RCBC used the planholders' funds to invest in other products, placing them at risk. He added that the bank did not properly disclose its investments--which allegedly include shares of the PLDT--to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The BSP has already penalized RCBC's Trust and Investment Division last year. The PEP Coalition, however, found the central bank's sanctions as mere "slaps on the wrists" of RCBC, and are now demanding the "most severe" sanctions that can be implemented by the BSP, including the arrest of implicated individuals.

"The laws are fine. The BSP and the SEC both have the power to do something about this situation. It's the people behind these agencies that are the problems. We need reform. They need to be arrested and held accountable for their actions," Piccio said.

Meanwhile, Piccio said more complaints will be filed against the Yuchengcos in the coming weeks. -- With a report from Michelle Orosa, ABS-CBN News