/ 14 April 2024

MANILA — Amid mounting scrutiny, Wick Veloso, known as a self-styled rainmaker, faces intense examination over his investment decisions totaling P1.4 billion, particularly his involvement with Vince Perez’s Alternergy.

This investment, made during his tenure at the helm of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), is now under scrutiny for potential breaches in GSIS guidelines.

The focus on Veloso’s investment choices extends beyond his controversial acquisition of shares in Nickel Asia.

Sources reveal that former Ombudsman Merceditas “Mercy” Gutierrez and other trustees have voiced concerns regarding Veloso’s decision to invest P1.45 billion in preferred shares of Alternergy Holdings, a renewable energy venture led by former Energy Secretary Vince Perez.

Veloso, backed by Vic Rodriguez before the latter’s departure as Executive Secretary, secured 100 million Alternergy preferred shares at P14.50 each through a private placement in November.

This move, made just seven months after GSIS acquired a two percent stake in Nickel Asia for P1.46 billion, was undertaken unilaterally by Veloso, leveraging his authority as a self-styled “rainmaker”.

Notably, investments under P1.5 billion bypass the GSIS Board’s approval process.

Gutierrez and fellow GSIS Trustees have flagged the Alternergy investment for contravening the pension fund’s Investment Policy Guidelines, which stipulate a minimum market capitalization threshold of P15 billion for stock investments.

At the time of Veloso’s investment, Alternergy’s market value stood at a mere P3.029 billion, which has since dwindled to P2.83 billion, with its stock plummeting by 22 percent to 72 centavos post-GSIS entry.

Alternergy’s underperformance is stark, having dropped 43 percent from its IPO price of P1.28.

Questions also arise regarding Veloso and his GSIS associates’ deviation from investment protocols aimed at safeguarding members’ funds from undue risk.

The GSIS investment accounts for nearly half of the P3 billion equity capital raised by Alternergy last year, with the IPO contributing P1.62 billion.

This capital infusion, alongside the P16 billion Alternergy is raising through debt, is earmarked for financing wind projects in Tanay and Alabat, with Perez aiming to generate 1,370 megawatts from wind, hydro, and solar farms over the next five years.