Like father, like son?

Curiously, Adrian's photo and swanky address were used in the account opening forms submitted to RCBC's Jupiter branch by a certain Jessie Lagrosas, which turned out to be fictitious as with four other accounts. Adrian has been with RCBC for just over a year and at one point was assigned to the Jupiter business center. But even after being posted at the head office, he would frequently the branch to meet with its manager Maia Santos-Deguito, his former colleague at East West Banking Corp. who allegedly recruited him to join RCBC.

On two crucial dates, when the fake accounts were opened and when the money entered the system, Adrian was present at the Jupiter branch. This was disclosed by Macel Fernandez-Estavillo, RCBC's head of legal and regulatory affairs, in a recent interview with Bloomberg TV Philippines.

Adrian's name was floated in earlier Senate hearings as the one who arranged a meeting in his house between Ms. Deguito and other branch employees where money was supposedly offered to help in the cover-up. Sources disclosed he was also around during Ms. Deguito's dinner with junket operator Kim Wong at Solaire Resort & Casino in May 2015.

Upon closer examination, it turned out his father Aderito's family controlled General Bank and Trust Co. (GenBank), which was taken over by the predecessor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas during martial law. GenBank's assets and branches were subsequently sold to Allied Banking Corp. and following years of inactivity, it lost its corporate registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 1993.

In 2005, Aderito tried to revive GenBank by calling for a stockholders' meeting in his capacity as chairman and president. It then had a pending case with the Supreme Court questioning the central bank's takeover and closure of GenBank and petitioning for billions of pesos in damages from the government. The high court dismissed the petition for lack of merit in 2006.

Aderito was also involved in a highly publicized boardroom battle over Stradcom Corp., the information technology service provider of the government's Land Transportation Office (LTO). This was in December 2010 during the term of the late LTO chief Virginia P. Torres, herself another controversial personality, who was accused by Stradcom President Cezar T. Quiambao of conspiring with Aderito and Bonifacio C. Sumbilla in the illegal takeover of the Stradcom building.

The Court of Appeals (CA) resolved the dispute in favor of Mr. Quiambao's group as the ones in control and operating Stradcom. In its 2015 decision, the CA said "the confusion as to which between the two opposing groups the LTO should deal with no longer exists." It denied a motion for reconsideration filed by the Sumbilla-Yujuico group.

A lawyer claiming to be the corporate secretary of Stradcom, was arrested for falsifying public documents declaring his clients as Stradcom's top officers. Assistant prosecutor Nanette Austria found probable cause to charge Jer Samson in court for filing a fake 2010 general information statement (GIS) of Stradcom with the SEC, citing a special stockholders' meeting wherein they supposedly elected Aderito as board chairman and Mr. Sumbilla as president.

This same GIS was used by Mr. Samson's clients when they attempted to take over the LTO facility operated by Stradcom. The judge ruled that "there was no instance the corporation ever held a special stockholders' meeting."

Both Adrian and Aderito have their share of corporate controversies, and the mention of their Forbes Park home in the current Senate investigation may provide leads to the masterminds of the caper.

J. Albert Gamboa is chief financial officer of Asian Center for Legal Excellence and Senior Advisor of KSearch Asia Consulting, Inc.

Source: BWorld Online