SEC Commissioner on hold departure order

MANILA — Securities and Exchange Commissioner Jesus Martinez has been slapped with hold departure order on Tuesday March 10 by the Bureau of Immigration on orders of Justice Raul Gonzalez following Senate probe of bribery and corruption allegations.

Martinez was accused by Caroline Hinola, former executive officer of Legacy, of allegedly receiving a house and cash gifts from Celso delos Angeles, owner of the troubled Legacy Group.

Prior to the collapse of Legacy Group, the owner operated other companies including several rural banks and the pre-need Legacy Consolidated Plans Inc. firm, all of which have since been closed.

According to Anthony Golez, presidential spokesman, the investigation on Martinez “could open a floodgate” but considered the alleged bribery an “isolated case.”

In a six-hour Senate committee on trade and commerce’s hearing on Monday, Hinola disclosed that Martinez allegedly received P5 million in Legacy funds as a wedding present for his son, Jesus Glen Paolo Martinez, so that he could buy a house and lot in the Classic Homes subdivision within BF Homes Paranaque.

Hinola also told the Senate of an alleged payment of P1.8 million in consultancy fees to Paranaque Representative Eduardo Zialcita, who immediately denied Hinola’s accusation.

President Arroyo, who was apprised of these developments Monday night, ordered a wider probe on the involvement of Martinez in the Legacy mess including the SEC as well as top executives of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Martinez, who is due to retire on Thursday after seven years of service with the SEC, was urged to resign along with other SEC officials by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

“We do not only allow them to retire. They must answer for their misconduct in office,” Enrile said, adding that “to remedy the supposed ineptness of some people in the bureaucracy is to see to it that they must be hailed to court.”

Meanwhile, Martinez, after being confronted with claims of accepting bribes from the Legacy owner, said he was considering resigning.

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