MANILA, Philippines – Businessman Roberto V. Ongpin is present at an ongoing Senate probe on alleged behest loans from state-owned bank Development Bank of the Philippines.
Ongpin, one of the richest men in the Philippines, is at the center of a questionable loan and stock deals with DBP in 2009. These deals are being investigated by the Senate blue ribbon committee for allegations of wrongdoing.
This is the first time Ongpin appears at a Senate hearing. He says in his opening statement that he was abroad in the first two hearings and couldn’t change his business schedule.
Ongpin-led firms bought the shares of DBP in listed firm Philex Mining Corp partly using loans granted by DBP itself. The Nov. 2009 loan was granted in one day and valued the Philex shares at P12.75 each. A month after, Ongpin’s group sold these same shares to the group of businessman Manuel Pangilinan at P21 each.
Ongpin says DBP loans were not behest because “no powerful individual intervened”.