bignacio.bunye

(Fifth of a series)

IN last week’s column, we discussed huge negative net interest margin as one of the reasons for Banco Filipino’s chronic financial hemorrhage.

In this issue, we will discuss how Banco Filipino misspent its already meager operating income on scandalously exorbitant management and legal fees.

For a floundering bank which earned only P165 million for a nine-month period in 2010, Banco Filipino paid P286 million in corporate officers’ fees, legal retainers, consultancy fees, legal fees and what not.

That’s 176 percent more than total income.

Due to space limitations, let me just zero in on the fees paid by Banco Filipino to director Perfecto Yasay, Jr. and his related law firms.

The Yasay group accounted for 36.4 percent of total management and other fees.

In only a short span of 46 days in the last two months of 2010, the law firm Yasay, Regalado, Atienza and Mendoza billed Banco Filipino, the amount of P76.2 million as follows:

Nov. 3, 2010 - P26.880-M; Nov. 19, 2010 - P35.840-M

Both fees were in relation to just one case - Civil Case No. 10-1042 (Banco Filipino v. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) which is being heard by Judge Joselito Villarosa of Makati RTC Branch 66.

In the said civil case, Judge Villarosa ordered the BSP to implement an alleged rehab plan for Banco Filipino.

When the BSP went to the Court of Appeals to contest Villarosa’s decision, Yasay charged BSP with alleged contumacious refusal to abide by a lawful court order.

Yasay filed a petition for contempt against BSP, also before Judge Villarosa.

For this legal service, Yasay billed Banco Filipino on Dec. 16, 2010, the amount of P13.44 million.

The above-stated fees plus earlier payments to Yasay’s firm of P9.946 million (billed in the latter part of October) added up to P86 million for 2010.

Another firm — Escueta, Yasay & Partners — billed Banco Filipino P7.97 million for unspecified services in 2010.

In addition, Perfecto Yasay, in his individual capacity, was paid fees in the total amount of P8 million for the year 2010.

This was for services rendered as a Banco Filipino corporate officer and for “legal consultations, formulation of legal strategies and representation with various agencies of the government.”

Mind you.

We are not even talking of legal fees paid in prior years.

Atty. Harry Roque, who joined the Banco Filipino train only recently, will probably not like this.

Compared to Yasay’s firm, Roque and Butuyan Law Office was paid a “measly” P1.28 million for filing a case against Governor Tetangco, Deputy Governors Nestor Espenilla, Juan de Zuniga and members of the Monetary Board before the Ombudsman.

A group of Banco Filipino employees recently demonstrated at the Bangko Sentral.

They are barking at the wrong tree.

They should instead be picketing Perfecto Yasay and other Banco Filipino officials who approved Yasay’s outrageous fees — to the employees’ and the bank’s detriment.

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More of these in next week’s column.

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Past articles may be viewed at  http://speakingout.ph/v_palace.php

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