Politician-scammer: Mayor Celso de los Angeles of Legacy Group

James Ryan Jonas

Legacy Group owner Celso de los Angeles is, without a doubt, a cunning but wise businessman. Just last week, he proposed to end the “hardships” of investors of his failed “double your money” schemes by announcing that the company will file for insolvency so its assets can be divided among them.

Legacy: Celso delos AngelesAccording to De los Angeles, “instead of clients fighting over the company’s assets, it would be better to surrender all of our assets to court.” The court will then supposedly appoint a receiver who will liquidate all of Legacy’s assets and properties, the proceeds of which will be divided equitably among creditors and investors.

Wow, what a sweet and kind gesture from Mr. de los Angeles.

But who is he kidding? De los Angeles wants the public to believe that by filing for insolvency, the company is putting utmost importance to the interest of investors and depositors. Yeah, right. If that was his concern, then he should not have let Legacy fail in the first place.

His proposal is not meant to make it easy for investors to get their money back. It is meant to make it easy for him to get out of this mess. By passing the responsibility to the court and the receiver who will liquidate the firm’s assets, he’s basically saying, “Bother the courts, not me, because my work here is done.” A cunning but very wise move.

In case Legacy files for insolvency, will its assets be enough to pay back what is due to creditors and investors? De los Angeles is wise because he knows that upon receivership of the company, no one can go after his personal assets since his liability is limited only to his investments in the company. There is a big chance that he has already withdrawn a lot from the company and what did he buy from those? Hmm, probably those lavish mansions and expensive cars and private yachts that Senator Mar Roxas presented during last week’s Senate committee hearing.

Can someone also check if de los Angeles and his cohorts withdrew anything from the company, for their personal benefit, in anticipation of the failure of Legacy? Because if they did, then they should be liable for maliciously disposing and stealing the company’s assets.

In the end, regardless of what happens to Legacy, Celso de los Angeles still emerges a winner. Who loses? The hundreds of thousands of hapless Legacy depositors who entrusted their hard-earned money to a man who arguably pursued personal interests first before that of his investors.

In the aftermath of the Legacy scandal, at least one man was wise and cunning enough not to end up as victim. That’s Celso de los Angeles, Jr., the Legacy man himself, who is leaving us with a legacy of bank runs and company insolvencies while he sails away in yachts waiting for 2010 so he can run for public office again.

A cunning, wise man indeed.

Who is Celso de los Angeles, Jr.?
From Inquirer.net

  • Great-grandson of former Marikina Mayor Laureano “Kapitan Moy” Guevara, who established the Marikina shoe industry in 1887
  • A Business Administration graduate of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM)
  • Worked in the US for almost 10 years before returning to the Philippines in 1997
  • Acquired Legacy Plans in 1997
  • Named by former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson in August 2002 as one of former President Joseph Estrada’s many “jueteng” collectors; Singson said De Los Angeles collected for the province of Ilocos Norte
  • Appointed chair of National Home Mortgage Corp. in September 2004; was accused by non-government organizations in July 2005 of being “not morally fit to be in government,” saying the few months that he headed the agency was a time of “flagrant and brazen graft and corruption”; filed sick leave prior to going on terminal leave weeks later
  • Elected mayor of Santo Domingo, Albay, in 2007
  • Owns 13 rural banks with 29 branches nationwide under Legacy Group; all 13 banks declared bank holiday and closed voluntarily last year

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James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.