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Delfin Lee’s Globe Asiatique got ‘special’ deal from Pag-Ibig Fund – CEO

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 02:29 PM April 08, 2014

MANILA, Philippines –  The head of  the Home Development Mutual  Fund  (HDMF) or Pag-ibig Fund  admitted at a Senate  hearing  on Tuesday  that it had a  “special  arrangement”  with  Globe Asiatique (GA) Realty Holdings Corp owned  by detained businessman  Delfin Lee in  2009.

Former Vice President Noli de Castro. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

But former Vice President Noli de Castro, who was also chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), strongly denied that the GA received a special treatment from the  Pag-ibig Fund when it obtained  alleged questionable loans for its housing projects in Pampanga.

“Wala hong special dito. Walang special treatment,  only special program dahil yung project po ay township – may simbahan, may munisipyo may High School, may palengke, may plaza,”   de Castro said  when he appeared  before the Senate committee on  urban planning, housing development and resettlement.

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(There’s no special here. There’s no special treatment, only special program because  the project is township – there is a church, municipality, a high school, a market, a plaza.)

It was Darlene  Marie Berberabe, president and chief executive officer of Pag-ibig  Fund, who  told the committee  about  what she described as “special arrangement”  that  the agency  had with  the  GA.

Citing minutes of  Pag-ibig board meetings, Berberabe said Pag-ibig agreed  to a pilot  township development to be implemented  by   the GA within  two years before  proceeding to a regular program  after evaluation.

But during a board meeting in June 2009, she said, the pilot project   was being presented as if it was already a “regular program”  when there was no evaluation or result yet of the  pilot program.

Delfin Lee. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

“Dumiretso na, naging regular na  in the  sense na nag open ng P5 billion  funding commitment in line to be implemented within  three years,” Berberabe said.

The  new arrangement, she said, was  contained in a memorandum  of agreement (MOA) signed between the agency and the GA in 2009 during the time of her  predecessor, Jaime Fabiaña.

“How many developers do you have with  asymmetric relationship… ibig sabihin iba ang relationship nyo sa kanila (It means, you have a different relationship with them)?” Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III  asked.

“Iisa lamang po. Kay GA po (There’s only one, with the GA),” Berberabe said.

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“Bakit special?  Paano naiiba yung 2009 na arrangement with the GA? Yung pong iba sa Window 1, meron silang  buy back period na two years. Sa GA under the MOA, naging 5 years.”

(Why special? How’s  the 2009  arrangement with the GA was  different?  Some of those under Window 1,  they have a buy back  period of two years. With the  GA under the MOA,  it became five years.)

“The other developers  under the Window 1, yung membership verification na ginagawa  ng Pag-ibig is before take out, sa other working group po under the GA agreement is also post. So ibig sabihin pagkatapos  ko na ulit –che-check kung member or may mga capacity to pay…Pati po yung mga ITR and income affidavit ay post din…”   she further said.

Senator JV Ejercito, chairman of the  committee, explained  at the start of the hearing  that those that fall under Window 1  are  developers  who   have been authorized to process and  approve loan applications and even choose the borrowers.

The loan proceeds,  he said, will be released seven days after  all required documents have been completed.

“Mayroon ditong tinatawag na “buyback guarantee”. Ibig sabihin, kapag hindi nakapagbayad ang borrower, bibilhin ng developer ang account ng borrower na ito sa Pag-Ibig,”  Ejercito said.

“Pagkatapos nito, ang property ay maaari na muli ibenta ng developer sa ibang buyer. Maaaring magkaroon ng “buy back” sa unang dalawang taon lamang ng loan,”  he further said.

Under Window 2, however,  the Pag-Ibig Fund is the one that processes  and evaluates housing  loan applications.

“Sa window na ito ay may pre-inspection ng housing units, at walang buy-back guarantee ang developer,” Ejercito said.

But De Castro assured  that  “due diligence”  has always been the practice of Pag-ibig  board  when it approves a certain program.

“Hindi po kami mag-a-approve ng hindi masasagot ng Pag-ibig ang mga katanungan ng members ng board,” he said, responding to Ejercito’s queries.

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