'Success Story'; (Editor's Note: The Campaign against Graft Gets a Headline but Less Than a Dozen Crooks, of the Thousands, May Worry as Noted by the Author.)

Manila Bulletin, January 13, 2007 | Go to article overview

'Success Story'; (Editor's Note: The Campaign against Graft Gets a Headline but Less Than a Dozen Crooks, of the Thousands, May Worry as Noted by the Author.)


Byline: Romeo V. Pefianco

BEFORE New Year, I met my godson and his family at a mall. To buy the few things for the kids to remind them that 2007 is also a season lasting one full year like 2006, he said.

Realty business

Friends and kin told me that my hijado is doing well in his realty business. Selling house and lot or lot only is serious business and may prove rewarding if the broker could outrun competitors.

He asked me if I could give him a few tips on how to discover ill-gotten wealth used to acquire parcels of land.

Questionable land titles and banlon

I said it's easy to know if parcels of land are in danger of being forfeited to the government. Lands subject to sequestration are in the name of the closest kin of adventurous characters, meaning young men and women in government offices that collect revenues -- taxes and duties -- and agencies with regulatory powers.

Over coffee, I narrated briefly how a shoeshine boy held me by the collar and asked if my banlon shirt was genuine or fake. Before I could get mad he said "it was genuine" because the collar did not crease. He asked if I worked at Customs. I answered, "Why?"

He said most Customs employees who were his suki wore the expensive banlon (costing R50 to R80 in the late '50s and early '60s).

My realtor godson paid for my coffee. I asked him to extend my greetings to his parents.

The crooked profile

Let's go back to his question about parcels of land in danger of forfeiture and branded as a kind of unexplained wealth.

We are all familiar with people held to answer antigraft charges. The newspapers, radio and TV have features of their profile: (1) fairly young (2) earning enormously in excess of lawful income (3) tooling around with a fleet of cars costing millions (4) owning parcels of all kinds of land or in the name of unmarried and unemployed kin (5) flaunting his affluence like a maharajah. …

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