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CA upholds turnover of pyramid scam queen’s assets

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the turn over of assets forfeited from pyramiding scam queen Rosario Baladjay and her associates to the trustees of claimants. 

In a 16-page decision, the CA’s Special 10th Division affirmed an earlier ruling of the Manila regional trial court (RTC) directing the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to turn over the proceeds from the seized bank accounts of Baladjay’s Multinational Telecoms Investors Corp. (Multitel) to three creditors of the firm. 

It dismissed the petition of AMLC, which wanted the P10.8-million forfeited assets to remain with the government and opposed the claims of Rafael Manalo, Grace Oliva and Freida Rivera-Yap.

“We agree with the findings of the RTC that the funds in the subject bank accounts and deposits are the same funds being claimed by the claimants in their capacities as assignees-in-insolvency (trustees) of defendants Baladjay and Multitel,” read the ruling penned by Associate Justice Nina Antonio-Valenzuela. 

The CA rejected the AMLC’s petition seeking determination anew on whether the bank accounts and deposits form part of the money invested by the creditors with Baladjay’s Multitel as it would only derail the efforts of the victims of the scam to recover their investments.

Associate Justices Francisco Acosta and Jane Aurora Lantion concurred in this ruling.

In their petition with the RTC, Manalo, Oliva and Yap sought control of the seized bank accounts of Multitel and its conduit corporations Everflow Group of Companies, Crisis Solutions Inc. and Five Vision Consultancy Inc. (FVCI). 

They said they wanted to have the assets collation and eventual distribution to all creditors of Multitel who are running after unpaid obligations of P4.27 billion from Baladjay. 

FVCI’s owners – Conrado Ariola, his wife Patrocinia and Joseph Valiant Ariola – were also named respondents in the case. 

Covered by the case were only the bank deposits subject of forfeiture proceedings in Civil Case No. 03-107325 originally filed before the Manila RTC Branch 24, including the bank deposits under the names of the Ariolas and Baladjay in two private banks.

ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL

ARIOLAS AND BALADJAY

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE NINA ANTONIO-VALENZUELA

ASSOCIATE JUSTICES FRANCISCO ACOSTA AND JANE AURORA LANTION

BALADJAY

BALADJAY AND MULTITEL

CIVIL CASE NO

CONRADO ARIOLA

COURT OF APPEALS

MULTITEL

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