Ongpin to file criminal complaint vs BSP official

Posted at 01/04/2013 2:13 PM | Updated as of 01/04/2013 8:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Businessman Roberto V. Ongpin has stepped up his attack on the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as he said he will file a criminal complaint against Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla for seeking the freeze on the tycoon's bank accounts.

Ongpin said Espenilla's move is a violation of the Anti-graft Law, which covers officials who cause undue injury through manifest partiality, evident bad faith, or gross inexcusable negligence.

"Espenilla has caused my reputation the gravest damage by his signing an ex-parte petition with the Court of Appeals that my bank accounts be frozen," Ongpin said in a statement on Friday.

"This action, which is totally without basis is never taken lightly by anyone, not my international business partners, and certainly not by the investing public, which has lost for me several billions in market value of my listed shares," he continued.

The former Trade minister said Espenilla earlier cleared his transactions with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) during the Senate hearings in 2011. But in November last year, the deputy governor signed the Anti-Money Laundering Council petition for a freeze on Ongpin's accounts, saying they could be holding proceeds of now allegedly behest loans from the DBP.

The freeze covered about 100 accounts owned by Ongpin and companies and persons linked to him.

"I cannot allow Espenilla to take this most serious action, whether deliberate or not, and let him get away with it," Ongpin said.

"I will not permit anyone, not even a deputy-governor of the Bangko Sentral, to tarnish it by his frivolous, baseless and reckless accusations against me," he added.

Espenilla has declined to comment on the matter.

On Thursday, Ongpin said he quit as co-chairman and director of his own bank, the Philippine Bank of Communications, after the BSP deferred action on his election while confirming all other directors.-- ANC