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MANILA, Philippines – Businessman Roberto Ongpin did not attend the Senate hearing on the alleged behest loans extended in 2009 by state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines to companies he controls.
Ongpin’s lawyer Alex Poblador told the Senate blue ribbon committee that his client is out of the country and will be back on October 25.
Poblador said his client is willing to attend the Senate probe if it is scheduled when he arrives in the Philippines.
Blue ribbon chair Sen. Teofisto Guingona III did not allow Poblador to read a statement from Ongpin.
The senator said they will allow Ongpin to read a prepared statement only when he “personally” attends the hearing.
The Senate probe was triggered by controversies following the suicide of a DBP lawyer who was part of a group of bank officials being investigated by current DBP directors over the P510 million loan availed by the group of Ongpin in November 2009.
DBP has filed a complaint before the Ombudsman against the former bank officials for extending an allegedly “behest” loan. In their complaint, DBP cited violations in central bank rules and their predecessors’ haste in approving the loan, which was used to purchase the lender bank’s Philex shares.