Ongpin to oppose graft raps 'vigorously'

Posted at 09/28/12 9:56 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Businessman and former Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin said he will "vigorously" oppose the graft charges to be filed against him by the Ombudsman in connection with the allegedly irregular loan transaction worth P660 million.

On Thursday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the filing of graft charges against Ongpin and several officials of the Developmant Bank of the Philippines (DBP), including former president Reynaldo David.

In an e-mail to ANC, Ongpin, who is currently in Europe, said he has not yet read the Ombudsman's decision. 

"All I can say now is it is incomprehensible how a transaction in which the DBP earned some P1.4 billion, when the loans to my companies were fully secured and in fact paid ahead of schedule, can ever be adjudged by anyone as being unfavorable or having caused injury to the government," he said.

"I have instructed my lawyers to oppose this judgment vigorously." 

David also cried harassment with the recent decision of the Ombudsman. 

"We will follow the process. Again, we are innocent of these charges, and feel that its a case of harassment. We are ready to reply and give our side on this in the proper forum," David told ABS-CBN News.

In a resolution signed September 25, Morales said there is probable cause to file charges against Ongpin and other officers of Delta Ventures Resources Inc., including President Josephine Manalo and Golden Media Corp. Treasurer Ma. Lourdes Torres.

The criminal complaint versus Ongpin et al was filed on August 5 before the Office of the Ombudsman. 

Ongpin’s Delta Ventures Resources Inc. (DVRI) took out two loans totaling P660 million from DBP in 2009.

Ongpin later bought 50 million shares of Philex Mining Co. from DBP for P637.5 million or P12.75 per share. Less than a month later, he sold them for P21 a share to Philex Chairman Manuel Pangilinan.

The current DBP board claimed the bank could have made P42.4 million more if it had sold the stake directly instead of selling it to Ongpin. - Report from Coco Alcuaz, ANC