bleak times

i’m breaking my silence on this, as this came out already on broadsheet and on telly:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6l8XzOIzYI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjb2H6WVFaw

and here at:

http://business.inquirer.net/money/topstories/view_article.php?article_id=77701

ok. i got myself into this big mess when i joined this suppose foreign currency trading. i invested a quarter of the required investment to get a slot for the trading with 8 weeks holding period (trading period).

as explained to me by my friend, it’s a 60-40 plan, where the company which is PIPC, gets 40% + management fee (around 60USD), every 8 wks from the total earnings of that period. 60% to the traders (in our case, we are three in the slot), who should receive it periodically through bank to bank transfer. (we’ll give our usd accounts and all earnings should be automatically transferred there).

the plan is suppose to be the more conservative among all the options to invest cost it actually “eliminates” the risk. (or so I was told). PIPC gets big chunk totalling to 40% on winning period, but should we lost on the trade, face value of the capital (40.000usd) will remain and only management fee will be deducted.

a friend (from grad school) introduced this company to me. he works for this company PIPC, and he was the one who explained to me the business plan. after some researches and assessments i handed to him a third of the investment 20th march, whilst the two thirds was transferred to a name Rustico Marcelo thru BPI account. did all these things without having him sign anything.

after a week i received a certificate from this friend, issued by PIPC Singapore. it looks very similar to certificates issued to me before by other reputable local banks when i was still into TDs & TBills investments.

apparently i received a call last tuesday, 17th july from this friend telling me that this bastard(!) Michael Liew, company’s Singaporean CEO is now missing in action and ran away with more or less 200M USD of the investors’ money (philippines alone. other countries like japan, hk, india are still unaccounted). he is the sole signatory (i found out about this only now) and he withdrew all the money from ABN Amro HK. how he did it, remains unanswered.

it was the looongest call of my life. i was only able to ask “do you know this is coming? you are too smart for this not to know anything.”… and he was apologetic and all. but i can’t stand the call any longer. everything is in shambles at that very moment. so i told him instead, “i definitely need a legal counsel on this. i’ll call you after i find a counsel”, then i hung up. i immediately called accra (our corp lawyer) for an advise. then spoke also to tcmr law firm, cos i have a good friend there who is a partner and is very much acquainted with BVI laws.

i realized i don’t have a copy yet of our contract. the only thing i got is the certificate. so i called him to send me the contract right away. only received it when i bugged him to see me at starbucks dasmarinas. he agreed around midnight (imagine the call was 10ish in the morning and i saw him 1am the next day) as he said he is meeting the entire day his personal counsel! oh ok! it’s a matter of crisis but he delayed transmittal of pertinent documents to me. something which he should have transmitted to me months before all this blew up. mid afternoon, i had our office manager speak to this tina tuason (local gm) over the mobile phone to get more infos like: who are the incorporators, full account of the ceo’s sudden disappearance, what critical steps are they taking now, are they still operational..etc etc. questions which she answered with vague coherence. despite all these, i still wish to be aligned to whatever course of action they’d take. he lead me to this, and he’ll help me get out of this as well. plus the premise that they too are investors. (his family has about 380grand USD of investment)

wednesday, after discussion with my counsel, and my lawyer friend P, i had our liaison check SEC for their incorporation papers. i was in utter disbelief when i found out that the only articles of incorporation letter we’re able to secure is a company named (performance investments corp). however on the reports i have gathered, they really are registered as an information research entity but are not authorized to do foreign currency trading and any other transactions of that kind!

thursday was the real blow when i had my other USD account checked and found no transactions made since i invested. no fund transfer. no profits. no nothing. called him to ask how could this happen? apart from this CEO stealing the money, i am being screwed already since day 1, as i received nothing. (if only i have not trusted too much, i could have detected it earlier. i should have reconciled my account’s update to the periodic reports of the trade i receive via email).

i was crying the whole time. just how stupid and dumb i could get! i was too trusting to a fault. i was too careless too with my steps. i claim to know how to handle my finances, but i fell prey to such scams like this.

i went too far like did a comparative analysis of ROI of PIPC to other investment firms and find it to be falling on the average curve industrywise. i checked how long have they incorporated here in PI, and found out to be almost 10 years, something i thought quite long enough. i studied their business model, and it falls under foreign currency trading and not something like a pyramiding, and is verifiable on market trends. if it was, i would have not dipped my finger to it. their office is at citibank plaza, one of makati’s most expensive bldg to lease. and since our company is into realty, i knew for a fact how it would be impossible to hold office in that tower without proper documents in the first place, like articles of incorporation, business plan etc.

but, i have failed to check SEC papers. i have missed checking my bank updates. i have overlooked risks involved in investing to a foreign based firm. i did not consult any legal services to review the engagement papers. i may have gone farther with all the economics of it, but i did not dig deeper. in short, i miss the very basics of investing. arrrrg!

now, talks are ongoing with my counsel. definitely another money to burn. i wanted to think i already lost that money, and start moving forward. but the mere thought that people like them are walking freely outside enrages me. these people who’re responsible for scheming such a sophisticated and grand plan like this should be pinned down and should be placed behind bars. this big money is no joke to me. it’s not something my dad or my mum just gave me. i’ve worked hard for it. i do not belong to the “rich families” living in posh villages in makati and alabang. i’m not a carpooled baby. i ride public utility vehicles (jeepneys, fx, tricycle..name it). i grew up playing patintero, chinese garter and all. i even enjoy eating street foods with friends. i have that money, like some other investors, (not all are rich who invested just their extras, cos as i’ve said a slot on the trading can be a collective investments of small scale businessmen), because i’ve worked hard for it and i’ve saved some for business ventures in the future. i’ve been professionally working since 2000 (plus legitimate sidelines) and you know when people say, it is my sweat, blood and tears.

the burden is even heavier cos my parents aren’t aware about this yet. i was planning to tell them last weekend. but my dad’s BP is fluctuating lately. i don’t want his BP to overshoot upon hearing their eldest’s failure. it was a relief though to have said it to my two siblings. they are both cheering me up. and that one person, who should be supporting me at this time, can’t say anything but emphasize further how stupid i had been, as if it’s not enough that i lost big bucks and i feel bad about it…that this person has to make me feel bad about myself too. oh thanks to you by the way.

this saturday, i will go to the mountain. i need to recollect and i need time with Him up there. in my lowest moment, i know at His feet, i’d find strength. it’s unimaginable how i’d continue with my day to day life if i won’t get a recharge up there.

wherever this would all lead, i’m comforting myself that i’ve earned that money without bending my values. i cut no corners and was transparent in all my undertakings. i’m just resting on the promise that you sow love, you reap love. and for now, that’s all that matters to me.

to all my friends in varying degree, i appreciate all your kind words to me. it’s more than what i expected to most of you, especially to those people whom i get to connect with only virtually. you guys are awesome! i got your back next time. i have been thinking to be in hiatus for a while, until i am again whole. but i can’t turn my back on people like you guys! thanks guys!

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23 Responses to “bleak times”


  1. 1 abbyG. 25 July, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    as i have told you, being more miserable about this whole situation will only make you feel worse. i know it’s tough, and that no matter how wary and cautious we try to be, things happen beyond our control. wag mo na isipin, ang importante kikitain mo pa yan, at tenfold ang balik sayo.

    o, kiss ko na ikaw hahaa. :)

  2. 2 e-rod 26 July, 2007 at 1:42 am

    wow, vangie. after reading this post, i really feel for you. obviously the scheme was very sophisticated that they were able to swindle millions from so many people. i hope that by posting this on your blog, it brings you closer to flushing this out of your system. i’m sure that your mountain trip will help you find that inner strength and peace to go through these times. hang in there, girl.

  3. 3 banggigay 26 July, 2007 at 2:24 am

    abby, i’ve started accepting my fate already. isipin ko na lang i’m blessed with beautiful people. i just can’t really say yet, “banggigay is again back to action”. thanks mare!

    eric, aye. if this is not a case of one time big time estafa, i must acknowledge that people behind this is a bunch of smart & incredibly sly individuals! arrg! tnx for the genuine concern.

  4. 4 sardonicnell 26 July, 2007 at 5:22 am

    bangge, i’m sure kakarmahin din yang manlolokong yan. you’ve been through a lot in life and have won most of your battles. in time, you’ll be blessed with more cause of your hardwork and dedication. hope i can say “cheer up”, but these turn of events is still brand new. keep up the faith. my prayers and well wishes are with you, now and always! God bless =)

  5. 5 Franc 26 July, 2007 at 8:07 am

    too bad this things happen to good people… and sad as it is people benefits from taking advantage of other people… but the only safe thing to say is what goes around comes around… someway or somehow, things will even out… I know this is tough to swallow but things happen for a reason and I am not sure of glim of optimism is what can comfort you right now… charge it to experience (taas nga lang ng tuition fee)… I’m sure you’d end up tougher and better after all things clear up… hoping for a wonderful twist of fate the next time for you… =>

  6. 6 bullrunner 26 July, 2007 at 10:01 am

    I won’t argue that it is big bucks that you worked your butt off for. And, it really is tough to accept how it’s been stolen from you…that jerk! But, at the end of the day, it is really just money. Be thankful that you still have family, friends, good health, stable job, and many many more. Count your blessings :)

  7. 7 banggigay 26 July, 2007 at 10:33 am

    franc, waaah. should have approached you to check this before i put in my money.

    jaymie, salamat tlga. i know you too are having a concern now, but you managed to lift me up in your sms.

  8. 8 miss.adventures 26 July, 2007 at 10:41 am

    everything’s going to be ok in the end. if it’s not yet ok, it’s not yet the end =)

  9. 9 Bubu 26 July, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Really sorry to hear about this… I don’t know if my words can be of any real comfort, but like someone else already said, you’ve been blessed with a good family, friends, and health. It just hit me how important health is (given my home situation diba)… health is wealth!

    I hope for good things to happen to you (what you deserve), which would even be better than if they just get karma, right? :)

  10. 10 banggigay 27 July, 2007 at 7:19 am

    miss.adventures hi! thanks for that. i don’t know you, but it helps. really :)

    bu, yeah. i’ve got so many things to be thankful for. and it’s not fair to wallow on my misery any longer. baka mamaya health ko naman bumigay.

  11. 11 Franc 27 July, 2007 at 11:42 am

    banggigay… next time you can consult me.. In terms of investments… if its too good to be true then it must not be…

  12. 12 jedianalyst 27 July, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your hard-earned savings. This is a very high-level scam and its entirely possible that the one who referred it to you did not know about it. Don’t blame yourself too much. You’re not really being stupid as many intelligent and supposedly knowledgeable people were hoodwinked. Careless is a better choice of word. It was very easy to be blinded by the profit. The company’s 10-year existence made it seem credible. Hopefully, they catch the perpetrator/s. I wouldn’t bet on NBI being able to recover your money though, especially if the agents handling the case are the ones shown in the TV report.

    I wrote a post about PIPC when the story broke out. I did get some interesting comments but there’s this one who insisted that it was not really a scam. This despite what you (and I) pointed out that PIPC is not legally allowed to do forex trading. I guess some people are still in denial.

    Good luck!

  13. 13 addettski 28 July, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    Dear Bangge,
    Sorry to hear about what happenned. Di ko alam na ganon pala ka serious ung nangyari sa iyo. I can understand what you have gone through. Ang mum ko maraming beses na naloko sa business ventures nya, but look at us, we’re still being blessed by God.
    Your other friends are right, you still got a lot of important things with you (family, friends, and health), and I know you will earn that money back someday (if not even sooner than you think).
    I admire you for earning that money in an honest way. Don’t fret. Just let it go na lang and learn from it. I know God will honour all your hardwork and will reward you immensely.

  14. 14 banggigay 28 July, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    franc, thanks a?!next time i’d know better.

    jedianalyst, thanks for that. honestly now, i’m not very keen on undergoing the litigation process. this may take forever before i’d even get a decision and does not equate to getting beck my fund. i’m more inclined to focusing back to my work and my little realty venture. at least there, i’m the only one accountable on how the business would fare.

    addett, thanks. it helped going up to tgpm. really. up there at the mountain, jabez’ prayer has never been so real in my life.

  15. 15 tutubi 29 July, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    live and learn :(

    next time be careful

  16. 16 dhangge 30 July, 2007 at 12:05 am

    just saw this blog entry.. i want to tell u again that i symphatize with you syuts.. it makes me wanna break the necks of those darn people.. i know u’ve said that you should have gone deeper in checking this business… but knowing you, i know you depended on a FRIEND’s words.. on the thought that he wouldn’t dare let a friend sink…u rili are one trusting soul..

    i know i haven’t been able to talk w/u..or listen to you blurt your thoughts like when we were still officemates.. but believe me when i say that you are always in my prayers..God takes care of those who trusts HIM.. I know you do. Keep your faith.. be strong..do not lose your heart’s laughter..continue believing and may you have the strength to accept that which you cannot change. And that SOMEONE who should be comforting and supporting you, but isn’t..don’t let his narrow-mindedness depress you..

    Here’s lots of hugs and love for you syuts.. no one can put a good and kind hearted person like you down.. :>

  17. 17 banggigay 31 July, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    tutubi, yeah. hirap lang i have to learn it the hard way :( anyway im coping. thanks for that!

    syuts, miss na kita dito promise.

  18. 18 Admin 1 August, 2007 at 12:09 am

    Just in case you want to continue to be updated, or if you have any info to help others get updated, then please register and post at

    http://www.PIPCscam.info

    Very sorry to hear of your situation, but so many of us were victims of this horrendous scam.

  19. 19 scammed 31 August, 2007 at 8:13 am

    Even if a company has been registered for 10 years already, it does not mean that it has been in operation for 10 years. It could have been inactive for 6 years. So it could have only been active for 4 years.

    Also, you never throw money at an unknown company like PIPC.

  20. 20 scammed 31 August, 2007 at 8:17 am

    What is the name of your friend (from grad school) who introduced PIPC to you. I heard the sales agents of PIPC received huge commisssions. This should have already been a warning sign.

  21. 21 Henry 21 November, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    Can you tell me about Rustico Marcelo?

  22. 22 dinley 26 February, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    this may come a bit too late. however, just wondering if you ever got to kno who rustico marcelo is. reason i’m asking is, i know a person named rustico marcelo who is into fx trading

  23. 23 Tofu 10 March, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    last friday, march 5, 2010, there was a messenger, in BPI Enterprise, withdrawing from the account of Mr. Rustico Marcelo a seven digit figure. hmmmm… he must be a rich man. out of curiosity, searched his name using google and came across this site.


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