Ombudsman: File criminal cases vs. Ongpin, ex-DBP officials
Ombudsman Morales says criminal cases must be filed against 28 individuals, including one of the country's richest, Roberto V. Ongpin, for loans from state-owned bank DBP used to purchase shares of Philex Mining in 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the filing of criminal cases against 28 individuals, including one of the country’s richest, Roberto V. Ongpin, as well as former and current officers of state-run Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). 

These cases are about the two loans granted by the state-run development bank totaling P660 million to businesses led by Ongpin in 2009.

These were the same loans that the Senate committee on banks and financial institutions has probed in 2011 to early 2012. The bank-led investigation in mid-2011 on these loans also led to the suicide of one of the bank lawyers, Benjamin Pinpin, in August 2011.

The funds were used by Ongpin-led firm Delta Ventures Resources Inc (DVRI) partly to acquire Philex Mining Corp. shares from the group of another businessman, Manuel V. Pangilinan, who was then trying to acquire controlling stakes in the mining firm.

Ongpin, who has other businesses abroad, has left the country on September 25. During the Senate hearings, he has denied wrongdoing and said the loan transactions were above board.

The case

The case stemmed from the complaint filed in August 2011 by DBP chairman Jose Nuñez and its then president and CEO Francisco Del Rosario, Jr. against those who allegedly participated in the grant of ”behest” loans under relaxed conditions when the bank entered into debt-turned-share-sale transactions with the Ongpin group.

The complainant cited violations of Sections 3(e), (g), (j) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act 3019), as well as of the General Banking Law of 2000 (RA 8791).

In its September 25 resolution explaining the findings of its review, the Office of the Ombudsman explained that:

  • DBP extended two loan facilities in the amounts of P150 million and P510 million in April 2009 and November 2009, respectively, to DVRI, even though DVRI was undercapitalized; 
  • the values of the securities did not comply with the collateral-to-loan ratio prescribed by the Central Bank and DBP’s own credit policy memoranda; 
  • there are indications that corporate layering was resorted to; and 
  • the proceeds of the P510 million loan were used to purchase DBP-owned mining stocks, although the private company was not licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission as a securities dealer, and with reported indicia of insider trading.

DBP sold to Ongpin-led DVRI in November 2009 its 50 million shares in Philex at only P12.75 per share. DVRI then used the loan proceeds, also from DBP, to purchase the Philex shares from another Ongpin-led firm, Golden Media Corp.

In just a span of one month or in December 2009, the Ongpin-led firms sold the same Philex shares at P21.00 per share, or at almost double the value.

Former DBP vice chair and president Reynaldo David

Indicted individuals for P510 million loan

After the Office of the Ombudsman reviewed the complaint on the P510 million loan, it said in September 25 it found probable cause to indict the following.

1. Former DBP board members

  • DBP’s ex-officers Patricia Sto. Tomas, former Chairman
  • Reynaldo David, former President & Vice-Chairman
  • Alexander Magno, former Director
  • Floro Oliveros, former Director
  • Miguel Romero, former Director
  • Franklin Velarde, former Director
  • Renato Velasco former Director 
  • Joseph Donato Pangilinan, former Director

Former and current DBP officials

  • Edgardo Garcia, former Senior Executive Vice President (SEVP) & Chief Operating Officer
  • Armando Samia, former SEVP & Head of Marketing Sector 
  • Rolando Geronimo, former SEVP
  • Perla Soleta, former Senior Assistant Vice President (SAVP)
  • Jesus Guevarra II, former SEVP & Marketing Head of the Brach Banking Sector (BBS)
  • Crescencia Bundoc, former VP & Head of Regional Marketing Center-Metro Manila (RMC-MM)
  • Arturo Baliton, BBS Manager for RMC-Western Luzon
  • Nelson Macatlang, RMC-WL Chief Accounts Management specialist
  • Marissa Cayetano, RMC-MM Assistant Manager

Private individuals: 

The Ombudsman noted that the Ongpin-led companies involved in the questionable transactions had interlocking ownerships and were undercapitalized.

It noted that majority of DVRI’s shares are registered under Manalo and its paid-up capital amounts to only P625,000. Golden Media, on the other hand, is owned by Boerstar Corp. whose shares are, in turn, held in majority by GAME Equities, Inc.

It added that Manalo and Torres are Golden Media’s respective president and treasurer, but Ongpin is the Chairman and shareholder of GAME. It said that Ongpin and David were directors of Philex in November and December 2009. Ongpin was a former DBP director and is a known associate of then DBP president David.

Indicted individuals for P150 million loan

Meantime, for the P150 million loan, Ombudsman Morales found probable cause to indict the following: Sto. Tomas, David, Magno, Oliveros, Romero, Velarde, Velasco, Garcia, Samia, Geronimo, Soleta, Guevarra, Bundoc, Baliton, Ongpin, Manalo, Torres.

The following former and current bank officials were also included:

  • Ramon Durano IV, former DBP director
  • Benedicto Ernesto Bitonio Jr.
  • former EVP and Head of Finance Sector
  • Teresita Tolentino, former AVP
  • Rodolfo Cerezo, RMC-MM Assistant Manager
  • Warren De Guzman, RMC-MM Assistant Manager

Tax, money laundering violations

The charges as against Benilda Tejada, Josephine Jaurique and Justice Lady Flores were dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.

Ombudsman Morales also said she will furnish the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLAC) for “their immediate action” on the possible tax, corporate, anti-money laundering violations. – 

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