Ongpin, BSP butt heads over PBCom directorship

By: Daxim L. Lucas, January 3rd, 2013 11:08 PM

Businessman Roberto V. Ongpin is at loggerheads with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas over the latter’s decision to defer action on his appointment as director and co-chairman of Philippine Bank of Communications—a move the former Marcos trade minister said was made by the latter despite the absence of a formal complaint against him.

In a letter to the BSP’s Monetary Board, Ongpin said that the action of the policy-making body was “unwarranted” and “unfair” since it was based merely on allegations made by the Office of the Ombudsman against him through statements to the media.

“While on Sept. 25, through press releases, the honorable Ombudsman issued a review resolution finding the undersigned culpable, I wish to point out in the strongest possible terms that up to today, which is more than three months from the press release announcement, no case has been filed against the undersigned in any court in this country,” Ongpin said in the letter.

“As such, it is clear that the undersigned has not been charged in court, much less convicted of any misdemeanor,” he added.

Asked to react on the issue during a speaking engagement at the Rotary Club of Manila, BSP Gov. Amando Tetangco Jr. said the freeze order issued by the Anti-Money Laundering Council on Ongpin’s bank accounts—the event that immediately preceded the Monetary Board’s deferment of the businessman’s PBCom board appointment—was done strictly according to procedure.

“There was a petition [to freeze Ongpin’s accounts] and all relevant laws were followed in the process,” he said. “We understand that there is now a motion for reconsideration before the court [filed by the businessman to overturn the AMLC order].”

In his letter to the Monetary Board, Ongpin said that his decision to resign from the board of PBCom was made to protect the financial institution from the reputational damage that the BSP’s decision had caused him personally.

“This unwarranted and patently unfair ‘deferment’ of my confirmation as director will undoubtedly cause injury to the bank since all seven directors, except its most prominent director (and co-chair of the bank) have been confirmed by the Monetary Board,” he said. “This, in my view, is tantamount to the Monetary Board declaring that I am not ‘fit and proper’ to be a director of PBCom.”

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