Are the Benitezes of PWU the new ‘Balasubas?’

 

There has been a lot of drama going on in Taft recently, particularly in the Philippine Women’s University campus, which was suddenly locked down just this weekend. The decision to close the school came from the PWU management, composed mostly of VPs and managers, whose main qualification for the job is that they have to carry the name “Benitez” either in the middle name or preferably their family name.

They are led by the school president named—surprise, surprise – Francisco Benitez.

If you must know, the lockdown order was in response to PWU’s creditor, the STI group, which last December declared the university to be in default of its loan, which has ballooned to P928 million.

Instead of honoring their obligations, the Benitezes opted to cover everything up with this telenovela plot: The legacy of the 96-year-old university is being attacked by the STI group. They hid and continue to hide behind students, faculty, parents, and alumni who had no idea what really led to this situation.

In the interest of public service, we are taking a deeper look into the PWU issue and how the Benitez family practically threw the school in this sorry state.

The so-called death of PWU did not start last December. In reality, it was already in a virtual ICU back in 2011. During the time, the school was in deep crisis as its original creditor, BDO, was close to defaulting PWU’s loan worth P223 million.

This P223 million loan with BDO was supposed to be used for improvements in the school, such as building improvement, computerization, and purchase of facilities. For reasons known only to the Benitezes, the money was gone and the school remained a veritable dump. Elevators had no elevator shafts, the roof was leaking, windows were broken, computers were part of the 90s era, and the electrical wiring was almost as old as the school, making the place a complete fire accident waiting to happen.

Even its basic education school, the Jose Abad Santos Memorial School in Quezon City, was in the same decrepit state. The young pupils and students were constantly at risk of getting leptospirosis because rains would raise water levels in the nearby creek, leaving the grounds and classrooms flooded for days.

Personnel was also a complete mess. The school offered an early retirement program, but it did not have the funds to pay for the retirees. It was also paying the hefty salaries of 15 deans, even though enrollees were not enough to sustain these many colleges.

So where did the P223 million go? Your guess is as good as mine.

This is the reason why back in 2011, every financial institution that the Benitezes went to gave them a glaring REJECT stamp. No one was willing to cough up money to a poorly managed school.

PWU was ready to announce its closure, until the STI group came along. Its chairman, Mr. Eusebio Tanco, wanted to preserve the legacy of Asia’s first school for women. He was willing to enter as a white knight to PWU’s problem.

But first, the Benitezes have to shape up. Finances must be put in order and the school must transform to become more competitive, especially in terms of facilities. The Benitizes were, of course, all Amens.

Long story short, STI group bought the BDO loan. BDO, in return assigned to STI all rights, titles, and interest of the PWU loan, including the undated letters of irrevocable resignation of the PWU board, which essentially says that they are willing to leave in case of a loan default.

It was a marriage made in heaven. Not only did STI save the Benitzes from its BDO loan, Mr. Tanco’s group loaned more money. The Benitezes got P198 million and another P70 million which they promised to use for renovation and upgrade of the schools. Another P26 million was also loaned to PWU for payment for the benefits of its retired employees. It was a Benitez dream that STI funded and it cost more than P500 million

The Benitezes promised STI that the loan would be paid either via shares of stocks or cash. Since the Benitezes had no money to begin with, they promised STI that they would allocate 40 percent of total shares to Mr. Tanco’s group. To make this possible, PWU – though Unlad – would raise its capitalization from P20 million to P1.2 billion to allow the fresh money to be paid through stocks.

However, the stocks that was supposed to pay the loan never happened. Three years after the dream deal, the Benitezes kept coming up with excuses to delay the assignment of stocks to STI. The Benitezes suddenly wanted to file for divorce as Conrad Benitez, in a meeting last December 5, 2014, said the Benitez family wants to discontinue the partnership.

It was a classic Benitez move. After sweet talking many debtors and investors, the family would find a way to get out of their agreements, then they would be on the lookout for new groups to make promises to. They pulled off the same scheme with Jardine Land (when the Benitezes wanted to turn all of its JASMS property on QC into a mall), with Metrobank, and with BDO.  It was almost a modus operandi.

The Benitezes, in a statement by its media bureau head named (once more) Lyca Benitez Brown, said the family would find a way to pay its loan to STI—which has already ballooned to P928 million. They just want more time and better terms.

How exactly the Benitezes will pay is beyond anyone’s comprehension. No bank would want to deal with them because they are simply unbankable. They cannot use money from tuition because enrollment from its PWU campus has gone down from 12,000 in the 1990s to 2,000 today. Combined post graduate and JASMS enrollment is also barely 2,000.

Now, the Benitizes are going to the streets shouting “Save PWU!”

Save it from what? Certainly not from STI, which only wanted to preserve the legacy and improve the PWU schools. If students, faculty, parents, and alumni really want to save the venerable institution, it should not go far in waging war against the forces that are out to destroy the school. In all likelihood, the real enemies may lie within.

As kids, we were taught by our parents and teachers to honor our obligations. Filipinos in particular takes this value as “palabra de honor.” In fact, we Filipinos have a particular term for people who renege on their promises, especially when it comes to money.

We call them “Balasubas.”

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47 Comments

  1. As far as i know the Tancos came in as investors not creditors and since then the fiscal affairs of the university was on tancos hands while the academic affairs on the Benitezes…so I’ m just wondering how come the tancos did not get their share?…

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  2. I couldn’t help but agree with Mr. Abello. I am a loan officer of a bank here in Cebu. What Conrad Benitez said in the Star today about not wanting to pay interest on loans is terrible. We avoid those borrowers. They are not credit worthy. They are what we refer to as nightmare clients.

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  3. Just read in the news that Conrad Benitez finally admitted that STI extended PWU the loan. Now he wants the interest due waived and to pay the principal in terms without interest because they do not have the money. Balasubas talaga! Ang tigas ng mukha! What a creep!

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  4. I am presently pursuing my doctorate’s degree @ PWU Manila, I hope this will not be affected by those rumors. Think of the best solutions not by arguing with anyone who’s trying to pull down the success of the said university (PWU).

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    1. Success? Unsuccessful nga kaya bankrupt na. Best advice from you is to move to another school because the credibility of your doctorate degree will be compromised if PWU eventually close down

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    2. I am also pursuing a doktoral degree in PWU. It does not matter kung saan ka nag-phd, basta ang mahalaga kaya mong pangatawanan ang phd mo. Push mo lang iyan. 😉

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    3. Push nyo lang po iyang degree. Me too, i am studying Phd there. Ang mahalaga ay kaya nyo pangatawanan ang doktoral nyo. Basta, read lang ng read.;-)

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  5. `sana po kung anu man ang sitwasyon meron ngayon ang PWU wag muna tayo manghusga.lahat ng bagay ay naayos at lahat ay nagdadaan sa malaking pagsubok.sa palagay ko lamang po ay hindi hahayaan ng pamahalaan ng PWU na tuluyan mawala ito sapagkat ito po ay sila mismo ang nagtayo.sana sa paglipas ng panahon ay maayos ito usapin ito dahil po bilang isang produkto ng paaralang ito para sa akin ay di masisira ng kahit anu pa mang isyu ang aking paniwala na ang PWU best skul ever during my time…dont give up on us! PWU!

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  6. Is it right to post a streamer in front of school condemning other school? I don’t think so. This is merely publicity. What do STI students know about this? I think they don’t have any idea about what’s going on. So why the logo of their school posted in front of PWU saying “No to STI”. Defend yourself instead of blaming others for your own faults, Benitezes.

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  7. I’m currently enrolled at PWU and I’m at my 4th year. So sad hearing about these things about my school. There’s a big question now in my mind. WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT? I hope this issue be resolved immediately. Our welfare is being taken for granted. 😦

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  8. Nakakahiya naman ang nangyayari. Paano ko ipagkakatiwala mga anak ko kung ang namumuno naman palang pamilya eh balasubas… Nagtuturo sila ng magandang asal sa mga estudyante pero hindi naman pala isinasabuhay ng mga pamilyang namumuno. Anong sense? Sayang ang PWU kung ganyan ang pamilyang namumuno.

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  9. So sad to hear the story as an alumni of the PWU they must do something to regain its honor and dignity.They must find ways to reinstate the school for it will affect a lot of college and high school students once the closure happened.I was surprised to learn thst out of 12000 only 2000 students are enrolled.What would happened to PWU once this enrollees started to pull out.The legacy of the school would be buried upon and peoplevwould only gossip about the Benitizes and not what the school had done to its students..PWU during my time has the BEST faculty teachers and deans..So I do hope and pray the problem would be solved upon..

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  10. DEFINITELY THEY ARE! Maybe that term was invented for them? I think so. They’re like the typical debtor who are good in persuading their creditor to lend them money, and once they got the money they want and it’s time for paying, they are like bubbles who are gone away. And they will throw a lot of dirty things to the ones they fooled. Therefore, the Benitezes are the real BALASUBAS… and the STI group are the ones who were fooled.

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  11. In my opinion, this issue is best resolved in court. PWU dissolving its partnership with STI seems like a sneaky move given all that’s happened. If there really was a breach of contract, it’s better left to be decided by a judge. In the end, the truth can only be hidden for so long.

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      1. STI is interested to eventually buy this school but the Benitezes are still holding on to it…para bang mga nalulunod na pilit kumakapit sa patalim…dapat magpalunod nalang ang mga Benitezes kesa idamapy pa nilang malunod ang mga estudyante

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      1. wHY would a Chinese preserve the legacy of a pinoy-hispanic family? That’s bull. The Chinoy only wants the business vogue….. Chinese families owning universities like Lucio Tan, Yuchenco, etc. And why are the Chinese gobbling up schools….because its good business, a business that spawns other linked businesses. Paq the legacy ploy!

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      2. Atty. Kroi Vallejos…may tama ka kase magandang business ang school kaya binili ni Mr. Tanco ang STI at lumago at medyo naging classy ito. Ang sinasabing legacy is keeping the name of PWU even after Mr. Tanco already loaned up to P928M. It’s not about legacy of being a Filipino…hindi kesyo may word na Philippines sa PWU doesn’t mean maka pilipino na ang mga Benitezes…at nakakasiguro ka bang mga tunay na Pinoy ang mga Benitezes? mga intsik din ito…attorney ka pa naman…ewan, mag research ka nga attorney

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  12. If Benitezes are willing to do this to people who have helped them, what does is say about their moral values? Also, with this kind of attitude, how can they expect to mold the minds of our youth today? PWU students will only end up inheriting the Benitezes’ corrupt principles.

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    1. The Benitezes would be teaching their students not to back down simply because others think they can be stepped on and they would teach their students not to judge solely on a bigoted blog post that holds no fair facts.

      If you’re so willing to jump on the hate bandwagon against the Benitezes, why not listen to what they have to say? You ask these questions about moral values and how they would mold the minds of today’s youth but you do not even dare to listen to them.

      Instead of asking questions about the Benitezes, why not actually listen to their side instead of reading this angry rant that people call ‘news’.

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  13. Sa tagal ng mga Benitez sa pamumuno sa PWU, puro kamalasan lang ang dinala nila. Kawawa naman yung mga students. Kung ako sa kanila, patalsikin na nila yang “balasubas” na angkan na yan!

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  14. kaloka nmn mga benitez. pgtapos mangutang, di marunong mgbyad. kala mo kung sinong mayaman, ugaling hampaslupa naman. hmp!!

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  15. The biggest thief and the biggest hypocrite is Jolly Benitez – the most corrupt croney of the late dictator Marcos. He objected the development of JASAM by Ayala Land and yet he is offering to Ayala Land to develop his Caliraya properties which he purchased with money he stole from PWU. What a HYPOCRITE! –

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  16. Amazing. All told, when the Benitezes were in distress, did any of them put in a single centavo to help PWU? No! It was only Mr. Tanco who put in P450 million when STI took their school out. P450 million! Ngayon parang mga Benitez pa ang inaapi. Kapal!

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  17. This is not the true story you know. It wasnt balooned up to P928 Million pesos. The Tanco Group were investors and the Benitez are in debt of only P450 Million pesos. Take note: they came as investors not creditors. There are no interests said (It is written) and now, after 3 years, the Tanco Group asked for almost a billion peso? Yes, the Benitez have mistakes, but please don;t take sides. Not everything that the medias said are true. Well, partly, yes, but sometimes, they lack information or they made their stories from chismis, which is inappropriate.

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  18. Although I applaud your talent in acquiring information, I do think there’s not much in your post that I couldn’t read on other websites. That means you’re not giving out new information, you’re just re-telling it while being obviously one-sided.

    In the hopes of understanding the situation and your ‘article’ better, which I believe you said is ‘in the interest of public service’, would you please answer the following:

    First of all, what is so wrong with having Benitezes handling PWU? The university is practically a family legacy they wish to uphold. If you somehow managed to build a school and had it last for a few generations, wouldn’t you want your children to uphold the legacy you made? Wouldn’t you want them to take part in the future of the legacy you so hardly created?

    Second of all, your praise in STI begs me to ask this question, Mr. Tangco is a business man, why then is he willing to risk half a million to a university that was already, as you said, ‘in a virtual ICU’ And don’t give me the to ‘preserve the legacy’ crap because I can tell you’re smarter than that. If they knew that PWU was already dying, and I’m assuming they did because they’re not stupid either, then what’s their agenda? What benefit would they gain from PWU?

    Third, can you tell me exactly why Conrad Benitez wanted to discontinue the partnership? Because the way you wrote it made it seem as if he just woke up one day and said, ‘hmm, STI did their part already so lemme just discontinue the agreement’ which is obviously not the case. No sane person/family would make a risky move unless they thought they ought to. So tell me, with your awesome searching ability, why he discontinued it.

    Fourth, ever since 2011 when they made the deal, how exactly did STI set the terms in asking for the payment. Since they look smart enough to get into the whole deal in the first place and they’re claiming PWU hasn’t been paying up, I’m assuming they made a legal contract that one way or another said ‘PWU must pay their debt within __ years.’ If so, why not present that to the public or better, to the Benitezes so this whole argument can stop and they can legally handle the situation instead of creating all the drama. If not, then isn’t it justifiable to ask for ‘better terms’?

    If you answer these, thank you! 🙂

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    1. On point 1, I totally agree! Besides, the current president studied in an Ivy League university. So he is not a President for nothing.

      Point no.2, great point! Do you know the legacy of PWU? Mr. Tangco knew PWU is not a school that can be mass reproduced the way he did STI. First, not everyone would want to wear the kimona the way high school students in PWU/JASMS do. Second, no teenager will want to have strict, conservative teachers. Third, will STI fight to keep tuition downmin the way PWU has fought for decades? PWU hihh school students in Taft always had lower tuition than other girls schools even in its heyday. Maybe that’s why PWU does not have 5-star facilities. Fourth, do you want proof of all the points I made? I can name people who have sent their not just one, but two, three, or even four daughters to PWU high school.

      And on the fourth point, yeah, why not pro ide us wih actual legal agreements between PWU and STI? I truly want to know if the allegations made by the writer of this blog are true. Just make sure what you showcan stand legal scrutiny.

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  19. Halatang bayaran ka ng mga STI ah. Sinong ginagago mo? Alam namin na ang mga STI na pagmamay ari ng mga businessmen na walang hangad kundi kumita ang gustong gawing mall ang JASMS at hindi ang mga Benitez. Simple lang ang eksplanasyon eh: STI, businessmen; Benitez, educators with PhD. Ang daming bullshit sa article mo. Bayaran!

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  20. The Benitezes have been pillaging PWU for the longest time. It is an open secret among the PWU community. It started with Amelou Benitez Reyes and Jolly Benitez. Now it is the turn of Conrad Benitez and Lyca Benitez Brawn. It is indeed a shame!

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