FORGED.

Signatures of a former official of the investment firm accused of stealing union funds were found to have been falsified, prompting the UST Faculty Union (USTFU) to withdraw his name from the case.

In an affidavit of desistance filed last Oct. 18 at the Manila City Prosecutor’s Office, the union cleared Ramoncito G. Modesto of any involvement in the theft of union money.

It noted that during a preliminary investigation, Modesto showed evidence “that he did not sign or issue any placement certificates from WISECITCO (Wise Capital Trust and Investment Company) including the sworn statement of the CEO (chief executive officer) of WISECITCO Mr. Emmanuel T. Deles.”

The union cited findings of the Philippine National Police’s Crime Laboratory that the signatures on supposed WISECITCO placement certificates secured by two union officials, Gil Garcia and Dr. Gil Gamilla, under an investment transaction with a company called Saturn Resources were fake.

Modesto said he felt “relieved and vindicated” when USTFU decided to exclude him from the qualified theft case. There are four other respondents, namely former union president Gamilla, former vice president Garcia, former internal auditor Raymundo Melegrito, and the president of Saturn Resources, Inc., Mario Villamor.

“It is important for me that I was removed from the case since I still belong to the capital market community as consultant of an investment bank. Being accused of qualified theft is a very serious matter,” Modesto said in an e-mail to the Varsitarian. “I have never been criminally charged in court and this wrongful accusation has in a way besmirched my reputation.”

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USTFU Internal Vice President Rene Tadle said it was “unfair” to drag an innocent person to the case, adding that a decision had been made to prepare a separate complaint for falsification against those involved.

“All I know is that the members of USTFU deserve an explanation from the concerned individuals. I am sure many would want to hear a satisfactory explanation from them,” Tadle said.

“Unfortunately, up to the present they have not provided any [and are instead] bombarding the members of the Committee of Peers, USTFU Legal Vice President Noel Asiones, and the rest who mustered the courage to speak against them with libel cases, left and right.”

Lawyer Jose Ngo, Jr., USTFU board director, bared that no money of USTFU went to the WISECITCO investment papers.

“In my report, I stated there that these investment papers are bogus, are fake,” Ngo said in an interview. “Because if you are investing money in a company, there would be money outflow going to that direction and you will have receipts that the company received such money from you.”

Tadle appealed for accountability.

“Hopefully, these actions, while very painful, will usher accountability and responsibility for all officers, because officers will know that if they failed to do their duties or responsibilities, they have to account for them somehow,” Tadle said.

The Varsitarian has been trying to get the side of Gamilla and Garcia. Melegrito declined to comment.

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