Ang Bagong Lipunan (ABL)

NOTICE:  The Pointe Group no longer buys ABL notes. 

At one time, there were a few high-volume collectors interested in buying them at about half of face value, however those days are gone as this article will explain.  Contrary to the rumor started by scammers, nobody buys ABL for 250% of Face Value.  Also, there is nothing especially valuable about triple-zero (000) serial numbers.  Anyone may buy as many as desired directly from the Central Bank Gift Store at 100% of FV.  If you truly believe that your ABL notes have any value, take a box of them to the Central Bank for sale.  You will not be offered so much as one centavo for them.

In accordance with Presidential Decree 168, on 1 July 1973, new ABL notes were introduced and circulated as the replacement for old Central Bank currency.  Both were considered legal tender for a six-month period.

!00 Peso ABL Note

On 1 January 1974, the old currency lost its legal tender status, but was still exchangeable for the new ABLs until 28 February 1974, in accordance with Presidential Decree 378.  On this latter date, the old currency was demonetized and ceased to be a liability of the Central Bank.

Notes of the ABL series were to be surrendered for replacement or exchange at par with Central Bank New Design Series Notes starting 3 February 1992.  ABLs were still considered legal tender for a period of one year ending 2 February 1993.  They were then exchanged or replaced at par and without charge with the New Design legal tender currency during the following three years ending 2 February 1996.

After 2 February 1996, the ABL series ceased to be a liability of the Central Bank of the Philippines and was considered demonetized. 

In summary:  ABL notes were legal tender from 1 July 1973 until 2 February 1993.  They could be exchanged for the New Design Series from 3 February 1992 until 2 February 1996.  As of 3 February 1996, they were demonetized and declared worthless.

Contrary to the story circulated by scammers, Marcos never issued any Letter of Instructions regarding the ABL notes.  We have thoroughly researched all 1525 LOIs issued by Marcos from 22 Sept 1972 to 6 Feb 1986.  Each is numbered.  Curiously, these fake LOIs are not numbered.  Even if there were private LOIs issued, since they were never declared publicly, they were never part of Philippine law, let alone an international edict. 

ABLs were never backed by gold.  There is no purpose to backing currency with gold only to keep such backing a secret.  This popular belief was the subject of a letter issued by the National Central Bureau, Interpol Manila, Camp Crame, on 26 March 2003.  The letter mentioned nine forged documents allegedly being offered by a certain Urbano Paul C. Ali, a Filipino Citizen, born on 1 February 1965.  The nine items and similar items still being offered today are all Category F. The nine forgeries were all dated 1 July 1981 and are as follows:

  1. Bank of England International GMR No. JP-022801 (2,500 metric tons of gold deposits)
  2. Insurance Certificate No. JP-022801 issued by Lloyd's International Company (Lloyd's of London) covering 2,500 metric tons of gold deposit with the Central Bank of the Philippines to mature on 1 July 2000
  3. Note Bond D.S. 7809870110702 Obligation Certificate - Bank of England
  4. Gold London Delivery No. JP-022801 (P780,000,000,000)
  5. Bank of England Certificate No. JP-02281 (US$450,000,000)
  6. Gold Bullion Certificate No. JP-02281 purportedly issued by Jaime C. Laya, Governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines certifying that 2,500 metric tons of gold have been deposited with the Bank of England to back up P780 Billion Ang Bagong Lipunan Pesos
  7. Certificate of Deposit No. JP-0225801 purportedly signed by Ferdinand E. Marcos and Jaime C. Laya
  8. Treasury Certificate No. JP-022801 signed by Jaime C. Laya certifying that P780 Billion Ang Bagong Lipunan have been deposited with the Treasury Department of the Republic of the Philippines
  9. Gold Memorandum Receipt covering 2,500 metric tons of AU Gold purportedly signed by Ferdinand E. Marcos and Jaime C. Laya

Dates other than 1 July 1981 are now seen on similar documents.  The P780 billion figure is continually seen on so-called “ABL Certificates”, each of which designates a so-called "set".  They are often attractively packaged with six bundles of genuine ABL notes along with a display case of genuine ABL coins purchased from the Central Bank. There were never any ABL Certificates.  What purpose would they have served?  Nor was there ever P780 billion in ABL circulated or deposited anywhere.  

See the BSP Circular dated 11 April 2003 detailing the scam.

But, is the BSP and Interpol telling us the truth?  Could the certificates actually be real?  Fortunately, the answer is very easy to discern because the scammers have overplayed their hand.

Very simple calculations show the maximum number of serial numbers which could have been produced would have allowed a total of less than P526 billion.  Thus, a scammer claiming to represent even just one set of P780 billion has zero credibility.  Oblivious to basic math, scammers often claim to represent hundreds of such sets.

Each ABL note had a serial number consisting of zero, one or two letters, and six numbers.  Hence, we have (27 x 26) +1 = 703 letter combinations, multiplied by one million number combinations, to give a maximum of 703 million serial numbers per denomination.  The six denominations (2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100) total P187.  Thus, we have a maximum of P187 x 703,000,000, or P131,461,000,000 in printed ABL currency per series.  

There were four series of ABLs, each signed by a different Central Bank Director (Gregorio S. Licaros; Jaime C. Laya; Jose B. Fernandez, Jr.; and Jose L. Cuisia, Jr.).  So, multiplying by 4, we get a maximum P525,844,000,000 or less than P526 billion.  

The fictitious P780 billion figure exceeds the maximum number of ABL pesos which could have been printed. Notwithstanding, over P780 billion could easily have been issued in electronic form.  Such electronic "ABL" currency was simply retained as "pesos".  All pesos, whether notes or electronic are designated by the ISO 4217 three-letter currency code PHP, as established by the International Organization for Standardization, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.  Thus, the PHP was never demonetized, but only the obsolete notes.  There is no current ISO 4217 class of PHP known as ABL.  Thus, even if ABLs were somehow secretly backed by gold, they were demonetized and declared worthless as of 3 February 1996 and so ceased to be any sort obligation of the BSP.

If a country backs their currency with precious metals, it has the right to "go off" the precious metal backing, either by renouncing the backing (e.g. the US ceased to redeem Silver Certificates with silver on 24 June 1968, although they remain legal tender to the present day) or by demonetizing them (e.g. the ABL notes as of 3 February 1996 which are no longer legal tender, thus not backed by anything, let alone precious metal).

So, in conclusion, if anyone is actually able to present over P526 billion in ABL notes for sale, we can definitely conclude that a portion of them will be fraudulent duplicates.  P525,844,000,000 is the maximum number of legitimate ABL notes which ever could have been printed (and the vast majority of these were exchanged by the millions of Filipinos who had them in their wallets and by banks from their vaults).  It is quite possible, as ABL notes were presented to the BSP in exchange for the new currency, that corrupt BSP employees may have hidden many of them rather than destroying them.  It is also possible that Marcos or some other politician ordered extra ABL notes to be printed and shipped in containers, perhaps in order to buy off provincial voters.  If so, this would have been tantamount to counterfeiting.  Or, someone could have obtained the paper and old ABL plates and printed duplicate serial numbers at any time after 3 February 1992.

We have identified ABL serial numbers which were supposedly destroyed by the BSP.  They cannot be forensically distinguished from genuine legitimate collectible notes, because they are printed on genuine paper with genuine ink and genuine plates.  Because of these spurious notes, most collectors have ceased to collect ABL notes.  There is simply no way determine the extent of the fraud.  Thus, stories of hundreds of sets (trillions of pesos) may be true, but ultimately they are worthless.

The bottom line is that if you are looking at a "set" of P780 billion in ABL notes, you are looking at notes with duplicate serial numbers.   Such a set will ultimately be rejected by the global community and world courts as fraudulent.  Even an incompetent attorney could easily demonstrate the math above.  Likewise, any dealer or trader representing them as genuine may also be liable for fraud.  This is the intent of the Interpol letter.  Be forewarned.