Safeguards vs another housing scam placed

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Saturday, March 22, 2014


SAFEGUARDS have been put in place by the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or Pag-Ibig fund to prevent another housing scam similar to the Globe Asiatique controversy, Vice President Jejomar Binay said.

Binay, who chairs the Pag-Ibig Fund board of trustees in his capacity as chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), said that Pag-Ibig Fund has put in place an internal ombudsman, as well as an internal control audit that regularly checks all of the Fund's transactions in order to prevent the housing agency from being defrauded in another Globe Asiatique-like scam.

"Alam mo kasi 'yong kay Delfin Lee, basically double sale 'yon at saka ghost buyers. So 'yon ang pinag-aaralang maigi para maiwasang mangyari pa ulit," the Vice President said at the sidelines of the groundbreaking of the Ernestville Housing Project in Novaliches, Quezon City.

After the discovery of the Globe Asiatique scam, Binay ordered Pag-Ibig Fund to abolish the Window 1 scheme, which was used by Lee to siphon some P6.6 billion in loans from the agency using ghost borrowers.

Window 1 was the express lane for real estate developers with good track records to fast track loan applications.

In the scheme, developers were essentially deputized by Pag-Ibig Fund to evaluate the financial capability of potential borrowers and submit application documents on their behalf.

As a replacement of the scrapped scheme, Pag-Ibig Fund implemented the Employer's Accreditation Program, which offers the country's top employers with accreditation to process housing loans for its employees. The accreditation provides employers with faster access to Pag-Ibig's housing services such as housing loan prequalification, home or housing needs matching, and faster housing loan processing time.

Pag-Ibig also introduced a special lane in several branches for loans amounting to P1 million and above to facilitate faster processing.

Moreover, upon the instruction of the Vice President, Pag-Ibig Fund has implemented the Affordable Housing Program, which offers subsidized rates for the first 10 years for members with gross monthly income not higher than P17,500. Loans up to P400,000 have an interest rate of 4.5 percent, while loans from P400,001 up to P750,000 have a 6.5 percent interest. At the end of the 10-year period of subsidized rates, the borrower will have the option to pick the re-pricing period of his choice.

Meanwhile, housing for local government units (LGUs), employers, employee associations, and cooperatives are also fast-tracked through Pag-Ibig's Group Housing Loan Program. Project proponents are given access to a maximum loanable amount of P20 million for horizontal development and P40 million for vertical development.

In December 2010, Binay ordered an investigation that revealed Lee, as president of Globe Asiatique, had used fake documents and ghost borrowers who supposedly bought homes in Globe Asiatique's Xevera housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga, to secure some loans from Pag-Ibig Fund.

The Vice President subsequently ordered syndicated estafa charges to be filed against Lee and four other Globe Asiatique officials, including his son Dexter, in connection with the anomalous loans.

Lee was arrested in a hotel in Manila on March 6 by virtue of the warrant of arrest issued by Judge Amifaith Fider-Reyes, presiding judge of the San Fernando, Pampanga Regional Trial Court branch 42.

The Supreme Court has upheld the validity of Lee's arrest. (Jun Sarmiento/Sunnex)

Local news

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