Dei in the News Media
Inquirer News Service, July 21, 2002
NEXT time Prof. Bernardo Villegas lectures on corporate governance,
all he has to do is hold a mirror and look at himself and his Opus
Dei colleagues at the now bankrupt investment house, Corporate Investments
filed in the ongoing CIPI insolvency case at the Pasig Regional
Trial Court show that even Opus Dei stalwarts can cook corporate
books and engage in self-dealing a la Enron and Worldcom.
president/CEO Vicente Atilano, for instance, was discovered to have
sold to his son Carlos a house in Milpitas, California, owned by
CIPI subsidiary ATP Technologies.
to the CIPI board, the elder Atilano transferred ownership of the
company house to his son for 290,000 dollars in January 2000, a
check with Santa Clara County records show.
months later, in November 2000, the son turned around and sold the
same house to a third party for 470,000 dollars, for a quick profit
of 180,000 pesos.
elder Atilano, a member of Opus Dei like Villegas, left CIPI under
a cloud of doubt after the investment house acknowledged that it
had inadequate assets to cover about 1.3 billion pesos in commercial
papers and other liabilities.
a director who represented the 5-percent shareholdings of CIPI employees,
is also no longer connected with CIPI, after having briefly served
as chair right after Atilano's departure. In addition to the CIPI
employees, the SMC and Coca-Cola Bottlers retirement plans and the
Archdiocese of Cebu are the major shareholders of the investment
himself owned 20 percent of CIPI.
in-house investigation after Atiliano's departure showed that CIPI
officers directly under Atiliano had sold about 380 million pesos
in "non-existent debt instruments/commercial papers" to
the unsuspecting public and corporate investors as late as 1999,
when CIPI was already floundering.
that time, Villegas was busy finishing a book praising Estrada's
first-year economic policies. That book, incidentally, was funded
by a grant from an Erap supporter, plastics king William Gatchalian.
Jacinto, who assumed the presidency after Atiliano, and Edgar Tordesillas,
CIPI first vice president, executed a complaint-affidavit accusing
Atiliano, and CIPI officers Wilfredo Gamboa, Jocelyn dela Dingco,
Stella Agra-Sales, Rafael del Rosario, Nazzar Luis, Erwin Arellano,
Ma. Christine Pagkalinawan, Ignacio Aquino and Juan Claudio Laya
of estafa (fraud) and fraudulent acts for the simulated transactions.
the corporate holders of CIPI papers include Assumption College
(12.9 million pesos), Canossa College (5.2 million pesos), La Consolacion
College (3.5 million pesos), Sacred Heart Missionaries (2.4 million
pesos), Morning Dew Montessori School (5.7 million pesos), DCCD
Engineering (2.7 million pesos), and Star Airfreight (3.2 million
of individual investors, mainly Catholic parishioners, who entrusted
their life-savings on the strength of the Opus Dei/Catholic Church
provenance of the investment house, now face the prospects of getting
back, if ever, only 30 percent of their original placements.