Hold departure order issued vs SEC’s Martinez
Arroyo orders probe of SEC exec
By Joel Guinto, Tetch Torres
First Posted 09:04:00 03/10/2009
MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE 3) The Bureau of Immigration issued a hold departure order on Tuesday against Securities and Exchange Commissioner Jesus Martinez amid allegations that he received bribes from the Legacy Group.
“We have included Commissioner Martinez in our hold departure order list. We issued the HDO upon orders of Secretary Gonzalez,” Immigration Chief Marcelino Libanan said.
Earlier, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered an investigation into allegations that a commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) received a house and cash gifts from the pre-need arm of the troubled Legacy Group, Malacañang said.
Caroline Hiñola, former chief executive officer of Legacy Consolidated Plans Inc., told a Senate hearing about the favors Martinez allegedly received from Legacy owner Celso de los Angeles.
“The President is very much concerned and surprised of the revelation, the reason for her immediate action,” deputy presidential spokesman Anthony Golez said, referring to the disclosures made by the former Legacy executives before the Senate on Monday, including P1.8 million in consultancy fees allegedly paid to Parañaque Representative Eduardo Zialcita, who has denied the claims.
“This will make a dent on the image of the SEC that’s why the President acted swiftly,” presidential spokesman Anthony Golez said.
Arroyo gave the orders on Monday night, he said.
Golez said that “if the results of the investigation established that [Martinez] accepted bribes, his retirement benefits will be forfeited,” without precluding criminal charges he could face in the future.
Without baring details, Golez said the investigation on Martinez “could open a floodgate,” although he said he considered the alleged bribery an “isolated case.”
Arroyo tasked SEC Chairperson Fe Barin to lead the inquiry on Commissioner Jesus Martinez, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde told radio station dzRH.
Remonde said the Palace would deal with the allegations with “serious concern.”
“The President has ordered SEC Chairman Barin to investigate these reports,” Remonde said.
Remonde said the Palace would wait for the results of the SEC inquiry, as well as the investigation by the Senate on the Legacy Group, which, prior to its collapse, operated several rural banks and a pre-need firm.
At Clark Field in Pampanga, where he attended a Cabinet meeting, Gonzalez said he has also ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to start gathering evidence against Martinez, as ordered by Arroyo.
Tonette Orejas, Inquirer
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