Ongpin files defamation suit vs DBP officials

Posted at 09/29/2011 5:11 PM | Updated as of 09/29/2011 5:11 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Businessman Roberto Ongpin finally broke his silence and slapped a defamation suit against the top officials of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) for supposedly conspiring to malign his name.

Named as respondents were DBP Chairman Jose Nuñez Jr., president and chief executive Francisco del Rosario, appointed spokesperson Zenaida Ongkiko-Acorda and other members of the DBP board who supposedly conspired with them.

He specifically took offense to the August 10 press conference, where Acorda claimed that it was the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas that initiated the probe against the supposedly anomalous P660 million loan he got for the operations of Deltaventures Resources, Inc.

The officials also put to question the capacity of his firm in paying the loans, saying it was “puny” and “undercollateralized.”

They also said DBP “suffered an opportunity trading loss” as a result of the transactions.

In a separate statement, Ongpin said, “I have spent a lifetime establishing my reputation, not only in the Philippines but also internationally, and I will not permit these malicious DBP officials to tarnish my reputation.”

“These incompetent DBP officials, who do not even know the meaning of ‘behest loans,’ have persisted in vilifying me and as I promised, I will not let them get away with it,” he added.

He stressed the loan he took out from DBP were fully secured since these were with collaterals. Vis-à-vis the P660 million, a collateral of more than P1.8 billion worth of Philweb Corp. shares were attached.

He also noted DBP more than doubled its investment at the time it sold its mining shares to DVRI. “[O]nly God can foresee future market prices and the concept of an opportunity trading loss is totally absurd in this case,” Ongpin added.

In fact, the loans have already been fully paid even before their maturities, he said.

“As promised to the widow of Atty. Benjamin Pinpin, I will not rest until these DBP officials who are responsible for causing her husband’s suicide and who have persisted in continuing to malign my reputation, have received their just punishment.” Ongpin stressed.