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Ex-GSIS officials in Tarlac convicted

TARLAKENYO (March 12, 2023) — The Sandiganbayan has sentenced three former Government Service and Insurance Corporation (GSIS) officers to up to 20 years of jail time for anomalous transactions amounting to P293.16 million.

Convicted were former GSIS-Tarlac City division chief Celestino Cabalitasan, property appraiser Ma. Victoria Leonardo, senior general insurance specialist Jerry Balagtas, and private defendant Jose de Guzman of JQG Homes Development – were all sentenced by the anti-graft court to six to 10 years imprisonment for each count, totaling 12 to 20 years.

They were also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.

The Sandiganbayan based its decision on the testimonies of several witnesses after a fact-finding investigation was ordered by then GSIS President and General Manager Winston Garcia regarding anomalies in the approval of the “GSIS Bahay Ko Program,” consisting of 1,433 loans.

The GSIS program was intended to be a low-cost housing loan program for public school teachers.

According to the Sandiganbayan Seventh Division decision promulgated on March 3, 2023, the investigation revealed that “there was connivance between GSIS employees and employees of JQG Homes Development in the evaluation and approval of loans.”

Some 491 loans were granted to ineligible borrowers, and still, some teachers found out that loans were taken out under their names, even without filling out application forms. These loans amounted to a total loss of P241.053 million for GSIS.

Another P52.11 million in loans were granted to 53 borrowers for commercial lots over-appraised by P33.243 million.

The court also found that the housing units provided by JQG Homes Development were either unfinished or inhabitable.

Ronald Dizon
Ronald Dizon
Ronald was correspondent for several Philippine dailies and weeklies a score of years ago and was editor of a South Pacific paper. He still writes for this online news service and several local weeklies. If he's not busy, you might catch him online on cnc.net playing that godawful old game. "Aaaa kakakaka!!!!!"
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