IMPROBITY flourishes when financial institutions close the door on communications with their clients. This happened to me when I was robbed on BDO premises at a time when BDO had a Bank Assurance relationship with Philam Life. This relationship was embodied in an entity called Pelac which was 95 percent owned by Philam Life and 5 percent by BDO.
The fraud involved the Pelac Financial Services Executive (FSE) who falsified a “quit claim” form by using my signature from my BDO signature card in the branch. This false document gave Philam life the opportunity to gouge P50,000 from me. It took Philam Life 14 months before it offered to return my money. Too late! By now, I was more interested in obtaining an agreed version of the truth. The majority view within Philam Life’s many CEOs (five since the transaction of 2008!) is that I should allow Philam life to bury the truth. Another example of improbity.
One exception was Bobby Madrid (Philam Life CEO 2014-2015) who offered me a “conversation” with his Operations Manager, John Hilson. Like many before, Hilson impugned my veracity. Now I have clearer idea why financial institutions have so much improbity. Their managements are easily manipulated by misinformation from below. Hilson insisted that I signed the offending document. How? When? I never went to the bank’s branch. In any case I had no reason to sign it. I wanted the transaction to happen and, in concert with BDO, was trying to find out why the insurance policy documents were never issued. Philam Life emulated the Legacy Group. Take the money, do not issue the policy!
Like all stories there are heroes and villans.
The heroes are:
1. Atty. Andy Hagad who listened to my tale of woe with infinite patience and helped to prepare full (as far as we knew it at the time) and truthful accounts of the failed transaction.
2. Barangay Captain Fuentes who suspected that document falsification was involved and asked Philam Life to provide supporting documentation to justify why the policy documents were not issued. Philam Life did not comply with this request.
Sadly, neither of the heroes is with us today.
The villans are:
1. The low level faction within Philam life who conspired, successfully to rob me.
2. Philam Life’s legal counsel Atty. Isagani Cruz Jr. who knew about the failed transaction at the time of the barangay hearings but failed to find out what happened. Surely, the role of the legal counsel is to find the truth first then act in Philam Life’s best interests. This would have been to refund the wrongly withheld money much more promptly.
3. Bacolod City Prosecutor’s Office which received truthful affidavits and presumably were misled by untruthful counter-affidavits. It missed a good chance to do something useful for the community and help the financial industry to attain a lower level of improbity.
Berlin-based Transparency International has announced that it will publish the corruption perception league table on January 27. I shall write an article on the information it provides.