Barely a day after this simple blog was created, thousands of people have been visiting to read our documented stories that detail the skeletons the so-called venerable Benitez family has been hiding deep in their closets.
Social media such as Facebook and Twitter have been driving so much traffic. In fact, we were informed a Facebook page which shared our article has received nearly 300 shares from different users. It’s not surprising that so far, our website got more than 20,000 views in less than 24 hours.
But what’s more interesting is that people are coming forward to give their own tales about decades of corruption and dubious transactions done by the Benitez family, which led to the downfall of Philippine Women’s University.
In our previous blog posts, we detailed how the Benitezes, led by PWU President Francisco Benitez (who we learned was just a substitute professor in the US before he was appointed as PWU president), got PWU involved in a series of loans with Jardine Land, MetroBank, BDO, and lately the STI group to hide the dubious activities of his father Jolly Benitez and the rest of their clan members.
We also know that independent audit reports questioned the cash advances and disbursements of former PWU Presidents and siblings Amelou Benitez and Jolly Benitez. Among their dubious activities include Amelou’s use of PWU funds worth P100 million to finance her failed digging activities for Yamashita Gold as well as Jolly’s disbursement of P109 million in PWU money to his company to purchase mostly a land in Caliraya that turned out to be protected forest land.
But there’s more where this brand of corruption came from. One commenter, Ms. Cecile Tan, said that after Amelou and Jolly pillaged the funds of PWU, it is now the turn of Conrad Benitez and Lyca Benitez Brown to take their piece of the PWU action. According to her, this is an open secret in the PWU community.
Roel Sarmiento, meanwhile, tells us that every JASMS alumni knows that the P250 million paid for by Jardine Land to PWU was pocketed by Jolly Benitez. For everyone’s information, in 1997, Jolly proposed the conversion of the entire JASMS property in Quezon City into a mall and have the pupils and students there transferred elsewhere.
Sarah Donato also came forward to reveal that now that the money of PWU is drying up, the Benitezes have begun to dip their hands into the trust funds of the PWU scholars as well as the retirement funds of the employees.
Dante Albano, in his comment, thanked us for exposing the truth about the Benitezes. He also said that family members have become so greedy that they are now targeting the money to family matriarch, Sen. Helena Benitez.
Eddie Florendo’s comment was rather intriguing. He was actually appealing to the alumni associations of PWU, St. Theresa’s College, Assumption, St. Paul, and Miriam not to support the Benitezes and that the alumni donations would only end up in Benitezes’ pockets. Does he have personal knowledge that the Benitez clan is turning to fundraising activities, using other people’s money, to help cover up their mess?
But perhaps the most curious comment came from one Joel David. Apparently, the Benitezes were not only known Marcos cronies, one member of their family, the late Betty Benitez (wife of Jolly and mom of PWU President Kiko Benitez), gained notoriety for her involvement in tragedy that was the Manila Film Center.
We Googled this bit of information and we found this piece in the Philippine Star by the late great journalist Teddy Benigno. He said that in 1981, Betty was handling the 24/7 construction works of Imelda Marcos’ Manila Film Center. At around 3:00AM, the scaffolding collapsed and at least 169 workers fell and were buried under quick-drying wet cement.
Mr. Benigno wrote: “Hundreds were buried in the cement debris. Thousands? Nobody in authority knew about the tragedy at the time, not even Imelda. Betty Benitez, a high priestess of the film festival, was immediately notified by telephone. Her instructions were to rope off the place, not to allow media to penetrate. It was martial rule, remember? This scandal had to be kept secret.”
Other sources even said that it was Betty who ordered to pour more concrete over the piles of dead bodies. Tragically, Betty died months later in a bizarre accident in Tagaytay.
Such are the secrets now coming out in the open. We’re glad that what we have started now serves as encouragement for people to help us unravel the truth about the Benitezes.
To the Benitezes, it’s time to own up. There have been claims you have been using PWU as your milking cow and now you are hiding under the proverbial skirts of your faculty, alumni, and students. What you don’t realize is that you are toying with the lives of people. You know that you are bound to bring the school down and you are taking the students along with you.
And as long as you remain heartless, we will remain vigilant – watching and revealing what we know.
This is just the beginning.