Ombudsman seeks reversal of junked graft raps vs Ongpin, ex-DBP execs

Posted at 06/16/2014 6:37 PM

MANILA – The Ombudsman is seeking a reversal of the Sandiganbayan ruling junking graft charges against businessman Roberto Ongpin, private individuals, and former Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) executives in relation to a 2009 loan transaction.

The Office of the Ombudsman has filed a motion for reconsideration before the anti-graft court to reconsider its 77-page resolution released on May 28 absolving Ongpin, former DBP vice-chairman Reynaldo David, a number of DBP officers, and private business executives Josephine Manalo and Ma. Lourdes Torres.

In its motion, Ombudsman prosecutors said the dismissal of the cases was premature as “insufficiency of evidence may only be made after the prosecution rests its case.”

The prosecutors also noted that the “prosecution was deprived of its opportunity to prosecute its case and to prove the accused’s culpability.”

The Sandiganbayan Special 3rd Division voted 3-2 to dismiss the two counts of graft charges filed against the respondents for lack of basis.

The Ombudsman’s motion urges the Sandiganbayan to review its resolution and heed the dissents of two associate justices, Maria Cristina J. Cornejo and Oscar C. Herrera Jr.

Cornejo and Herrera earlier said the dismissal was an “unwanted turnaround” and “constitutes a premature appreciation of evidence not yet formally presented and offered,” thereby “violating the right of plaintiff People of the Philippines to due process of law.”

The hearing on the motion is scheduled on Friday, June 20.

The case stemmed from a criminal complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman by DBP, alleging that the DBP extended "behest loans" to Ongpin's company Deltaventures Resources Inc. (DVRI) totaling P660 million in 2009.