FORMER UST Faculty Union (USTFU) president Gil Gamilla has sued the union’s current vice president for legal affairs for libel, heating up the row over a supposed “questionable disbursement of the USTFU funds.”

In his complaint-affidavit, Gamilla claimed Noel Asiones uttered “libelous statements” against him during the latter’s report to the union’s general assembly last Aug. 18, 2011.

One of the items discussed by Asiones in his report was the Committee of Peers’ (CoP) report on the alleged “unauthorized and questionable disbursement of USTFU funds” to certain faculty members including Gamilla.

Gamilla said the report presented in a PowerPoint Presentation, in which Asiones bared that the former union president had incurred P1.4 million in loans, was “full of malice.”

Gamilla was said to have advanced the amounts of P693,509.20, P200,000, and P500,000.

“I have fully liquidated this cash advance to the Union way back in 2008,” Gamilla said in his affidavit. “In fact the P693,509.20 amount above-attributed to me as a loan is very malicious in as much as I never had a loan of such amount.”

He said the amount of P693,509.20 referred to the remittances of P500,000 and interest and other payments.

The CoP, formed in July 2010, investigated the controversial disbursement of millions in union funds to a housing project in 2006. The project did not push through.

Gamilla also disputed Asiones’ claim that the P9.5-million placement made by USTFU with Wise Capital Investment and Trust Co. (WiseCitco) was a “loan” granted to Mario Villamor of Saturn Resources, Inc.

In 2009, USTFU officials signed an agreement with Saturn Resources, Inc. which involved an investment with WiseCitco, said to be a financial adviser to numerous companies.

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WiseCitco was supposed to lend money to Saturn Resources to construct a condominium building for the faculty as stated in the agreement.

Gamilla said “there was never a lump sum of P9.5 million that was released to Mr. Villamor and “[t]hat the placements made with WiseCitco were with the knowledge of the Board.”

“Asiones, continuously, publicly, and maliciously claim[s] that the investments that we made with WiseCitco, later converted into a demandable debt payable by Saturn/Mr. [Mario] Villamor, were done without the knowledge of the board and general assembly to dishonor and discredit my reputation,” the affidavit stated.

Gamilla added that he had filed a complaint for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 against Villamor purposely “for the collection of the proceeds of our investment which [has] been converted into a debt.”

Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, or the Anti-Bouncing Check Law, penalizes the issuance of checks without sufficient funds.

Furthermore, Gamilla said Asiones’ claim of the alleged unauthorized placements of USTFU Funds “consisting of P10, 592,874.97 to ALFM [Mutual Funds] and P4,728,404.78 to [Bank of the Philippine Islands] as time deposit” was “reeking with malice” and a “deliberate distortion of facts.”

“Respondent Asiones is implying that the two accounts, opened allegedly without board authority, were opened under my name (Gamilla) and illegally converted for personal gain, again purposely to destroy my good name and reputation,” Gamilla said.

Gamilla quoted Asiones’ report that said Gamilla opened a bank account in BPI that was not addressed to the USTFU office but to Medical Arts Building Room 3001.

“The exposition of respondent Asiones that ‘nagbukas po sila nung bank account sa BPI na hindi po naka-address sa ating USTFU office…’ is very malicious and inflammatory because it implies that the account was a personal account and not an USTFU corporate account,” Gamilla stated in his affidavit.

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“After my speech in the assembly, where I tendered my resignation as president of USTFU, I left the assembly immediately,” Gamilla said. “Later I was confronted by my colleagues about what was said during the assembly after I left… my colleagues and some acquaintances were aloof towards me, as if they were avoiding me.”

USTFU Internal Vice President Rene Tadle expressed his disappointment over the libel suit.

“It’s just so sad na nade-demanda pa siya (Asiones) by just performing his duties,” Tadle said.

In January 2010, a faction of faculty members called the Fidelity Group accused Gamilla of “impropriety” for the alleged illegal release of union funds to property developer Saturn Resources, without permission from the members of the Union. This prompted the formation of the Committee of Peers to investigate the issue.

Gamilla has a separate case against the Fidelity Group for releasing reports or documents about the alleged illegal disbursement of union funds.

He filed the complaint against Villamor before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office last Feb. 17.

The Varsitarian sought comments from Asiones and Gamilla but they have yet to respond. Bernadette D. Nicolas and Cez Mariela Teresa G. Verzosa

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