A FORMER chief finance officer of an investment firm accused of qualified theft of faculty union funds claims his signature was forged.

Ramoncito Modesto, formerly of Wise Capital Investment and Trust Company (Wise CITCO), said he was not involved in any transactions in connection with the alleged illegal disbursement of P9.5-million worth of union funds to a property developer in 2006.

In his Sept. 13 counter-affidavit in response to the case of qualified theft filed against him and former union officials, Modesto claimed his signature was forged on the seven placement certificates which allegedly came from Wise CITCO. Together with Modesto, respondents in the case filed by the current union officials are former union president Gil Gamilla, former vice president Gil Garcia, former internal auditor Raymundo Melegrito, and the president of Saturn Resources, Inc. Mario Villamor.

“I did not sign any of these seven (7) Certificates of Placement. My alleged signatures thereon are all forged,” Modesto said in his counter-affidavit, a copy of which was obtained by the Varsitarian.

Modesto said Wise CITCO hired him last June 30, 2005 but could not solicit nor accept placements by the time he was hired.

“As narrated above, by the time I was hired as Chief Financial Officer of Wise Capital, it was no longer accepting any money placements or investments since it was prohibited from doing so by the Securities and Exchange Commission which would not renew its license as an investment house until it brought in the required Fifty Million Pesos cash infusion,” Modesto stated in his counter-affidavit.

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Modesto also said he resigned from the company at the end of December, 2007, “due to non-payment of salaries and benefits” three months before.

Wise CITCO is said to have ceased operations in March 2008.

Modesto also added in his affidavit that only his signature appeared above the words “Duly Authorized Signatures,” which meant that “single signatories for transactions were not allowed.”

“From the records of Wise Capital, it is clear that single signatories for transactions were not allowed. Not only were at least two (2) signatories required, these signatories also [needed] the corresponding Board Resolution to evidence their signing authority for the purpose.”

The affidavit also stated that no amount of money covered by the said placement certificates was ever received by Wise CITCO.

“Not a single centavo of the money covered by said spurious Certificates of Placement was ever received by Wise Capital as the Complaint-Affidavit itself would show that all checks issued by the Complainant were made out in the name of Mario Villamor and that all proceeds thereof were either personally encashed by him or deposited in his own personal account,” the affidavit said, adding that there were “no telephone calls, letters or requests for appointments made to Wise Capital by union officials.

“No demand letters either were sent to Wise Capital regarding these alleged placements. Any of these could have easily led to the discovery of the spurious nature of the Certificates of Placement,” it added.

Rene Tadle, USTFU internal vice president, said union officials have yet to determine whether or not the documents were indeed forged.

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“If it’s true, medyo nakaka-surprise ‘yun because all along they claimed that the certificate of the investment are genuine. But indeed we cannot make any judgment at all at the moment,” he said. “Modesto is still a respondent on the qualified theft [case] and right now what we are just doing is to determine whether the document is forged.”

In January 2010, Gamilla was accused of “impropriety” by a group of faculty members for allegedly allowing P9.5-million worth of “illegal” disbursements to property developer Saturn Resources Inc.

Last year, an internal investigating panel, the Committee of Peers, reported that Gamilla had approved the questionable check vouchers while Garcia signed all the checks issued to Villamor, president of Saturn Resources, to build condominium units for faculty members.

Meanwhile, Melegrito was held liable for negligence in verifying necessary documents “before attesting on the propriety of the check vouchers,” “failure to report transactions of the board,” and “lack of objectivity in the exercise of his function,” the report added.

Melegrito declined to comment.

The Varsitarian tried but failed to seek comment from Gamilla. Garcia, meanwhile, declined to comment, citing the sub judice rule.

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