MANILA, Philippines - Officials of the Home Mutual Development Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund) and property developer Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp. all shared senators' blame for the alleged anomalous housing loans extended to borrowers in 2 housing projects in Pampanga.
Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, chair of the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile fumed at some of the officials invited to Thursday's Senate hearing on the controversy for possible negligence on Pag-IBIG's part and deception on the part of Globe Asiatique.
Atty. John Cosico, the head of Pag-IBIG's investigating team, disclosed at the hearing that out of the 9,145 accounts for the 2 housing projects, 944 borrowers were not aware they applied for Pag-IBIG loans, while 1,021 could not be located for verification.
Pag-IBIG granted almost P7 billion to Globe Asiatique for the Xevera housing projects in Bacolor and Mabalacat, Pampanga.
"The buyers that you presented did not exist. Did you inform Pag-IBIG?" Enrile asked GA chairman and president Delfin Lee.
Lee denied that the borrowers are non-existent. Some of them, he said, may just be abroad since many borrowers are overseas Filipino workers.
"It doesn't mean that they do not exist," he said.
Lee read a letter from Pag-IBIG, however, stating that 351 borrowers had decided to withdraw their housing loans.
Pag-IBIG chief executive officer Jaime Fabiana said he did not know about the letter, saying it may have been directed to Bayani Garcia, their branch manager in Pampanga.
"I haven't seen that letter," Fabiana insisted.
"With a magnitude of a loan like this? At least you should know what was going in with this account. As far as this Senate is concerned it might cause you your job," Enrile answered angrily.
Pag-IBIG Officer-in-Charge Emma Linda Faria said the agency has demanded Globe Asiatique to buy back the spurious loan accounts.
Fabiana also told the hearing that some borrowers were enticed to sign loan documents in exchange for cash worth up to P5,000.
If Pag-IBIG will be able to present affidavits of borrowers saying they were hoodwinked into signing the documents, Enrile said Lee can be charged with falsification and estafa.
Meanwhile, Osmeña pointed out that Pag-IBIG neglected its duties to verify the existence of people availing of housing loans, and more importantly, their ability to pay.
"If you were validating, you would not have 1,000 plus bad borrowers," the senator said.
Fabian said they have post-validation policies in place, but these were not implemented by their branch manager in Pampanga.