THE UST Faculty Union (USTFU) has sued former union officers and a property developer for allegedly faking documents purportedly to hide the theft of union funds.

Noel Asiones, USTFU vice president for legal affairs, filed the complaint-affidavit before the Manila City Prosecutor’s Office against former union president Gil Gamilla, former vice president Gil Garcia, former internal auditor Raymundo Melegrito, and Mario Villamor, president of Saturn Resources, Inc., last Dec. 6.

Respondents were accused of seven (7) counts of falsification under Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code.

USTFU claims P9.5 million in union funds were lost as a result of a bogus investment scheme.
“[T]he alleged investments were not true but a mere ploy to cover-up the theft of the union’s money. To hide their crime, the respondents produced [placement certificates] allegedly issued by WISE CITCO [Wise Capital Investment and Trust Company] to USTFU,” the complaint-affidavit said, adding that signatures of Ramoncito Modesto, former WISE CITCO chief finance officer, were forged.

The Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory discovered the forgery last year after Modesto submitted his signatures for handwriting analysis.

“Upon being confronted with these ‘placement certificates’, Mr. Modesto categorically denied that there were any money placements made with WISE CITCO by USTFU. He also firmly denied that he ever issued any WISE CITCO placement certificates to USTFU at any time and that the signature purported to be his is an outright forgery,” the complaint-affidavit stated.

Issuances done secretly

USTFU claimed the fund releases to Villamor were done secretly.

“Respondents did not report them to the USTFU Board or to the members although they had every opportunity to do so during the various USTFU board meetings held each year,” it added. “Respondents had no authority whatsoever to approve, issue and release said union funds in the total amount of P9.5 million.”

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Meanwhile, Rene Tadle, USTFU internal vice president, said Modesto’s statement that his signatures were forged, as well as the corroboration of Mr. Deles and Miss Gaerlan, that WISE CITCO was no longer authorized to receive money placements as early as 2006 contradicted the position of the respondents that the P9.5 million placement to WISE CITCO was a legitimate investment.

“Ironically, they are the ones who presented the certificates of placements to bolster their claim that they made the investments. These are the same certificates that they attached in their pleadings to show that the investments were legitimate,” Tadle said, noting that these documents were suddenly presented to the USTFU board when some officers for the first time questioned the WISE CITCO investments. “Now that these certificates of placements are alleged to be forged, indeed more questions are raised and explanations demanded. Hence, the falsification case filed against respondents gives them the opportunity to offer explanation.”

In 2009, USTFU officials signed an agreement with Saturn Resources, Inc. which involved an investment with WISE CITCO.

Two years later, the Committee of Peers, an internal investigating panel, found that Gamilla approved the questionable check vouchers while Garcia signed all checks issued to Villamor supposedly to build condominium units for faculty members.

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

USTFU has also excluded Modesto from the qualified theft case filed against the former union officers and Villamor last July on the P9.5-million worth of “illegal” disbursements.

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The complaint-affidavit noted that Villamor had claimed that the placement certificates were given by WISE CITCO’s general manager, Linda Gaerlan. However, Gaerlan said there were no USTFU placements with WISE CITCO.

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

Gamilla is not giving up on the legal battle with USTFU.

He filed a libel suit against the Fidelity Group for releasing to the public reports or documents about the alleged illegal disbursement of union funds last August 2011.

He also recently filed separate libel cases against Asiones and Rene Tadle, current union internal vice president last Aug. 18 and Oct. 2, respectively.

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.

As of press time, the Varsitarian is trying to seek comment from Gamilla, Garcia, and Villamor. Meanwhile, Melegrito declined to comment.

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