Business

Inangkin, ginatasan: Imee used ABS-CBN as her personal kitty during Marcos years – PSE president Ramon Monzon

Not only did then President Ferdinand Marcos wrest control of ABS-CBN away from the Lopezes, his daughter, now Senator Imee Marcos, pilfered the network’s funds to buy her stuff.

This was contained in the “missing” affidavit of former SGV & Co. partner and self-confessed Imee “dummy” Ramon Monzon given to the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) supposedly as part of his 1987 immunity deal.

The 68-year old Monzon, who is now president of the Philippine Stock Exchange, was recruited in 1984 by then husband of Imee, Tommy Manotoc, to manage not only ABS-CBN (Banahaw Broadcasting Corp. or BBC Channel 2) but also RPN-9 and IBC-13.

“Monzon testified that he was of the impression that the networks were owned by Roberto Benedicto because all the checks were sent to his office and signed by him. Later on, Imee Maros started giving orders,” according to the August 2019 decision of the Sandiganbayan on the P102 billion anti-corruption case filed against Marcos, his wife Imelda, his crony Roberto Benedicto (who died in 2000).

“Ramon revealed that Imee also ordered some of the networks funds to finance her personal expenditures, to which they willingly obliged since it was an order from the owner of the corporations and the funds were private funds of the networks,” the Sandiganbayan added.

Based on court records, Monzon was recruited to run RPN Channel 9, IBC 13 and BBC 2 in 1984 by Manotoc.

A year after taking over as executive vice president and chief operating officer of ABS-CBN, RPN and IBC, Monzon managed to cut the bleeding of Benedicto networks by tightening financial controls and imposing a central management.

By 1985, operations of ABS-CBN, RPN and IBC were back in the black as Monzon formed independent marketing arms to handle these networks’ advertising business; updated its arrears with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Social Security System and stabilized its loan payments to Traders Royal Bank and Philippine National Bank (before transferring to Security Bank and Trust Co.).

The marketing arms deposited the ad revenues of ABS-CBN, RPN and IBC in Security Bank as time deposits with the yields went to Imee.

However, the PCGG inexplicably submitted only a a photocopy of Monzon’s affidavit to the Sandiganbayan. This gross ineptitude of the PCGG is the main reason why it lost the Benedicto case, which included allegations that Marcos unjustly enriched himself from the operations of ABS-CBN, RPN and IBC from 1973 to 1986.

In the decision penned by Associe Justice Lorefel Lacap Pahimna, the Sandiganbayan said: “It saddens the Court that it took more than 30 years before this case is submitted for decision and yet, the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence to sustain any of the causes of action against the remaining defendants.”

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