On Comelec Chair's Issue: Journalist Revealed the Connection of Bank Owners to Bautista

After exposing husband's alleged unexplained wealth, Patricia, the wife of COMELEC Chair Andres Bautista, presented information and documents to the National Bureau of Investigation on August 1, allegedly showing more than ₱336 million in local and foreign bank accounts that weren’t disclosed in the official’s Statement of Assets and Liabilities (SALN). She also listed 14 properties in the Philippines and abroad worth more than ₱300 million as well as foreign investments in companies based in the British Virgin Islands, Brunei Darussalam, and Anguilla — all allegedly under Bautista's name. In her affidavit, Patricia accused her husband of “misleading and corrupt practices while in office."
COMELEC Chair Andres Bautista
Upon seeing Patricia's sworn affidavit, prominent blogger and former journalist at Sunstar Davao now Head of Strategic Communications (Content) at Department of Foreign Affairs, RJ Nieto - owner of the website ThinkingPinoy.net, unmasks Luzon Development Bank (LDB), the bank where Chairman Bautista allegedly put some money that was part of his unexplained wealth.

The next thing that you're going to read is part of the article published by Nieto on his website entitled: Comelec and DOTC Corruption: Wife's exposé breeds another exposé?

READ ALSO: Comelec Chair Andy Bautista Speaks Up, Reacts on his Wife's Corruption Claims

This will explain what is LDB and what is the connection of its owners to Bautista.

What is Luzon Development Bank?

Laguna-based community bank LDB was founded in 1961 by the Limcaoco Family [LDB] and it has about 40 branches today. Yes, it’s larger than a rural bank, but a lot smaller than the major banks that most of us are familiar with.

LDB is a subsidiary of the Lica Group [Lica], also controlled by the Limcaoco Family, with Rene “Timmy” Limcaoco as one of its managing directors [Old Swiss Inn]. It’s the same Timmy Limcaoco who was Aquino’s DOTC Undersecretary of Planning and Infrastructure Projects.

Limcaoco was appointed DOTC Usec in 2011 upon the recommendation of then DoTC Secretary Mar Roxas. Described Limcaoco as a successful business, Roxas tasked Limcaoco to handle DoTC’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and greenfield projects sector [Inq].

Greenfield projects mean projects that start from scratch. Meanwhile, we all know what PPP’s are, and we all know that the Aquino government’s analysis paralysis made PPP’s almost impossible. Abaya retained Limcaoco when he took over DOTC, and that says something about how influential this Limcaoco is.

But here’s the fun part: Limcaoco was embroiled in so many controversies during his term in DOTC.

Let’s list some of them.

Usec. Limcaoco’s scandals

2013: US$ 30 million extortion try

In October 2013, Czech train supplier Inekon CEO Josef Husek mentioned Timmy Limcaoco’s name in his affidavit accusing the DOTC of extorting US$30 million from his company in exchange for winning an MRT supply contract.

“On 9 July 2012, upon our arrival in Manila, Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar presented the business schedule. It included meetings with DOTC Usec Rene Limcaoco and MRT general manager Al Vitangcol the following day,” Husek said [Star].

2014: The LRT 1 extension that never happened

Remember when Aquino promised that he, along with DOTC Sec. Abaya, would have themselves run over by a train if the LRT-1 extension is not completed? Well, Limcaoco handled that non-project [Star]. As it turns out, Timmy Limcaoco is a sibling of a senior Ayala Corporation executive, and Ayala is the LONE BIDDER in the project [ABS].

O di ba!?

2013: The faulty Dalian trains

The Dalian trains that Abaya’s DOTC procured in 2013 turned out to be unusable for so many reasons, and I won’t expound on that anymore. What’s important in this article, however, is the confirmation that Dalian agreed to give a 5 percent kickback to Abaya and other DOTC officials for approving the contract.

The DOTC bids and awards committee – of which Limcaoco is part – disqualified Dalian’s rival over a minor technicality, then awarded the P3.75-billion to Dalian. That translates to around P187 million in kickbacks [Star].

Andy and Timmy

Now, you probably ask, so what does Andy Bautista have to do with all these?

At this point, it’s clear that:
  • Andy has too much money.
  • Andy has too many bank accounts.
  • Andy chose LDB.
  • Timmy’s family owns LDB.
  • Timmy is part of Abaya’s corrupt DOTC.
Now, how do we connect Andy and Timmy ?

In a press conference, Bautista said he keeps so much money in LDB because he knows the owners and trusts them. What Andy didn’t mention, however, is how well he knows the Limcaocos.

Manila Standard columnist Jojo Robles explained the link very well. 

In his column yesterday, Robles explained that Andy and Timmy are bosom buddies in the Ateneo de Manila High School section 4-A. Meanwhile, Andy’s brother was classmates with Timmy’s brother TG Limcaoco.

Yeah, Andy and Timmy are childhood friends. Even their respective brothers are also childhood friends. So yes, there must be considerable level trust between Andy and Timmy. After all, they REALLY know each other.

Ohhhhhh, this is fun!

Burning Questions

On one hand, we have a Timmy who may be handling tens (or even hundreds) of millions worth of dirty money from DOTC-era kickbacks and needs someone to successfully launder his money. On the other, we have a friend of Timmy’s who happens to be a world class financial lawyer, and who supposedly also needs a bank where he can launder money of his own.

Ain’t that pretty?

So, let’s ask:

First, when Andy Bautista said that not all of the money in those 35 passbooks are his, did he mean they belong to Timmy Limcaoco, who may have gotten it from the Aquino-era DOTC kickbacks?

Second, is it possible that, in exchange for laundering Timmy ’s dirty money, Andy will be allowed to launder his dirty Comelec money in Timmy’s own bank?

Third, Tisha discovered 35 passbooks, so is Andres hiding more money in other bank accounts that Tisha (or the public) has yet to discover?

Fourth, is Limcaoco’s “money” purely composed of “his”, or was he tasked with laundering the share of other DOTC officials like Roxas, Abaya, and Vitangcol?

Fifth, Roxas’ family – the Aranetas – own shares in major banks, but laundering money in big banks is tough, so is it possible that the Aquino-era DOTC officials entrusted the laundering of their share of the loot to Limcaoco, who owns the smaller bank?

And most importantly, did Tisha unwittingly discover part of Roxas’ 2016 election war chest?

Ah, this is just too juicy!

Too Speculative?

Some may be inclined to dismiss the previous questions as too speculative. But Central Bank data supports them.

Earlier today, I noticed that the Andy’s LDB bank accounts are almost numbered consecutively, suggesting that LDB doesn’t have a lot of depositors.
Andy's alleged LDB accounts.
Despite this, LDB experienced massive growth in deposits. 

Here is a table showing LDB’s deposit liabilities, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ database of Balance Sheets/Statements of Condition for Thrift Banks [BSP]. I also included a third column, which shows year-on-year growth of deposit liabilities.

Sources: LDB Docs from 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017.

Now, here’s a chart that illustrates the deposit figures in the table above:

Now, here’s a chart that illustrates the year-on-year growth rate of deposits:

With these, we can see that the growth of LBD’s deposit liabilities was slowing down from 2006 to 2011, then it picked up and massively accelerated from 2011 to 2014, then decelerated again from 2014 to 2017.

By the way, 2015-2016 was the Election Season, remember? Hehehe.

The rapid growth of deposits 2012 to 2014 boosted LDB’s deposit liabilities from just P1.9 billion in 2010 to P4.79 billion in 2016, or by about 152%.

Do you see it now?

LDB appears to not be enjoying drastic growth in the number of depositors, yet it enjoyed massive growth in the total amount of deposits. Moreover, most of the growth happened from 2012 to 2014. Now, the scandals involving Timmy Limcaoco and the DOTC happened in 2013 and 2014.

Did Andy team up with Timmy and Abaya’s DOTC on a joint laundry business?