Ongpin finds BSP official's charge 'amusing'
MANILA, Philippines - Businessman Roberto Ongpin laughed off charges that he is singling out and "persecuting" Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) deputy governor Nestor Espenilla Jr.
In the latest of the days-long back-and-forth statements between the camps of Ongpin and BSP, the billionaire businessman said on Tuesday, January 15, that he is the one being persecuted and not the one doing the persecuting.
He was reacting to the statement of Espenilla's lawyer who reiterated BSP's previous position, that the decision of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to ask the appellate court to have Ongpin's bank accounts frozen in December was made by 3 individuals, not just Espenilla.
"I understand very well that the AMLC is a collegial body, but of the 3 officials in it, only Deputy Governor Espenilla during the Senate hearings of last year stated under oath that the DBP loans to Ongpin were “prudent", "positive," and made a lot of money for the DBP. That is obviously why I singled him out," Ongpin said.
“I find the word ‘persecution’ not only amusing, but laughable,” Ongpin said. “Who is persecuting whom?”
Ongpin has filed a graft case against Espenilla and AMLC executive director Vicente S. Aquino. The former trade minister said their actions caused him to "lose several billions of value in his listed company shares."
Ongpin's decision to file graft charges versus Espenilla is "wrong" & "unfortunate," the BSP had said, explaining that the petition to freeze Ongpin's and other individuals' bank accounts came from Office of the Solicitor General, in line with the Ombudsman's complaint on P660 million alleged behest loans extended to his group by the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines in 2009.
The Ombudsman affirmed the review resolution on January 8, while the Court of Appeals extended in December the freeze order on Ongpin's accounts for another 6 months. - Rappler.com