Former President Benigno Aquino III is the latest victim of a corruption complaint based on a viral fake news story. A plunder complaint was filed against Aquino over alleged illegal shipment of 3,500 metric tons of gold based on a spurious bank circular that went viral on social media.

 Two lawyers Fernando Perito and Rogelio Cantoria filed the plunder complaint before the Ombudsman against Aquino, his former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima, former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, former Senate President Franklin Drilon and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr.



 The complaint had differing figures—$141.3 million dollars or $143 million value of gold shipment—and named De Lima as a “Finance Secretary” and Roxas as the “Secretary of the Department of Nutrition and Local Government.”

 The plunder complaint cited an alleged BSP circular no. 49 series of 2014 approved on Dec. 22, 2014 about the transfer of 3,500 metric tons of 99.999 purity gold 12.5 kilograms bar which were shipped from the Union Bank of Switzerland account under the name of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos. 

The alleged circular was signed by De Lima, Roxas, Drilon, Purisima and Tetangco. “The above gold billions were transferred unlawfully by the respondents from the Union Bank of Switzerland last December 2014 to the Bank of Thailand using Centennial Energy (Thailand) Compaby Limited as the connecting and receiving link without the approval, knowledge or acquiescence of the Filipino people as the registered owner and of the Philippine government through a congressional imprimatur,” the complaint alleged. 

The alleged BSP circular cited an alleged law or Republic Act 7655 which states that the “Centennial Energy (Thailand) Company Limited has given the authority to produce and issue the United States Dollars currency..”


The cited law is actually an “Act Increasing the minimum wage of househelpers,” according to the website of the Philippine Commission on Women. The spurious circular also cited Republic Act 7735 which allegedly states that the funds from the US currency would be used “for humanitarian projects and for ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries.”

 The cited law stated is actually an “Act establishing a national highschool in Barangay Poblacion in the municipality of Mawab, province of Davao to be known as the Lorenzo S. Sarmiento Sr. National High School,” according to the website of the Official Gazette.

 This circular was published on fake news sites Definitely Filipino and Trending News PH File, which contained stories linking the alleged gold shipment to the existence of Marcos’ Yamashita treasure.

 In an interview with reporters, Perido claimed he obtained the spurious circular from government through the freedom of information (FOI) policy. “We were able to get all of these and then we followed it up. 

We believed in the FOI and we’re able to get that, and eventually, this group of lawyers asked us to file this case, and we would think this case would be pursued until the end,” Perido said.

 In their complaint, they alleged that the shipment of the gold and printing of US dollars violated existing banking laws, and that the 3,500 metric tons of gold billions were “robbed from our own Central Bank.”


The complaint alleged that a certain Patrick Lam, an alleged ill gotten assets chief recovery officer, confiscated in December 2014 the 3,500 metric tons of gold valued at $141.3 million dollars or P6.8 trillion allegedly shipped to the Bank of Thailand using the Centennial Energy Thailand Limited. The complaint went on to say that the gold was obtained by Marcos from World War II.

 The complaint even called the alleged shipment of gold the “grandmother of all plunders” to finance Roxas and De Lima’s “political campaigns.” “The Honorable Ombudsman must not delay the investigation of this case, it being of national interest and for economic survival of the country,” the complaint read.




News Media PH

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