Ongpin girds for battle, sells PBCom stake

Bank may suffer from legal tussle, ex-trade chief says


Former Trade Minister Roberto V. Ongpin: Girding for battle. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Former Trade Minister Roberto V. Ongpin sold his stake in Philippine Bank of Communications, citing the need to make a “financial sacrifice” and spare the bank from any backlash that could arise from his legal battle with a ranking central bank official.

In a special block sale transacted on the Philippine Stock Exchange last Friday, Ongpin sold 6.13 million common shares and 15.36 million preferred shares of PBCom to Eric Recto, the bank chairman who is also his nephew, for P860 million.

The block sale represented 12.45 percent of PBCom’s share capital.

Recto, who is concurrent president of oil refiner Petron Corp., will pay for the shares on an installment basis.

This transaction makes Recto the single biggest stockholder in PBCom, hiking his interest to 29.52 percent from the previous 17.07 percent. Other key stockholders of the bank are Ralph Nubla (17.33 percent) and the Chung family’s Telengtan Brothers and Sons Inc. (10.66 percent).

“I regret having to sell out because I have always believed that PBCom has the clear potential to be a very successful bank,” Ongpin said in a statement. “However, I realize and accept that … I must undertake [this sacrifice]. Because of my decision to criticize the Bangko Sentral’s action against me, I have obligated myself to sell all my stock holdings, thus cutting off all ties with the bank, and allowing it to continue on its path to becoming one of this country’s strongest banks.”

Last week, Ongpin announced that he would file a criminal complaint against Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. for allegedly violating the anti-graft law.

Ongpin described how Espenilla adopted a “contradictory” position regarding a 2009 loan transaction involving Development Bank of the Philippines and Philex Mining Corp.

Ongpin said that when the Court of Appeals recently decided to freeze his bank accounts—because of an ex-parte petition to the court signed by Espenilla—the former trade minister’s listed shares lost billions of pesos in market value.

Last week, Ongpin publicly criticized the Monetary Board for deferring his appointment to the board of PBCom.

Ongpin sold his stake in PBCom at P40 a share, a large discount to the market price of the stock. Still, he made a small profit, based on his original acquisition cost of the shares in 2011.

That year, the Ongpin-led group bagged a controlling stake in PBCom in a bidding supervised by state-owned Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. In that P4.7-billion deal, Ongpin’s group acquired a 97.28-percent stake in the bank from the Luy, Nubla and Chung families, paying P27.88 a share.

Today, PBCom’s common shares are valued by the market at P79.80 each, while preferred shares are at P25 apiece.

“I was prepared to undertake this financial sacrifice in order to safeguard the interest of the bank because of the public statement I have made against the Monetary Board,” Ongpin said. “Since Eric doesn’t have P860 million lying around, I had to give him terms where he [made] a down payment of 10 percent, amounting to about P86 million, and the balance payable in three equal annual installments.”

Ongpin also resigned as director and co-chairman of PBCom, lamenting that the Monetary Board’s actions were “patently unfair.”

“When I announced that my lawyers had advised me that I had strong grounds to file a criminal case against Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr., I am certain that this did not increase his “affection” for me. Therefore, it exacerbated the need for me to disassociate myself in every way from PBCom,” Ongpin said.

He also made it clear that he had “no rancor whatsoever” against the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas as an institution.

“I believe [the BSP] has done an outstanding job in the management of the currency and the banking system, contributing immensely to the excellent financial health that our economy is now experiencing,” Ongpin said.

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  • The Truth

    An expert in dummy scam transactions, selling his shares to a niece and not to a third-party.

    If the current value is 79/share, why would you sell it at P40/share? Of course, it’s just a show… and anytime he’ll get it back, as soon as the legal and political conflict subsides.

    • turin55555


  • Pablo Juan

    ibenta na bago pa pag interesan at ma sequester.

  • joshua kings

    in the first place, sino ba talaga may-ari ng bangkong ito at ng mga shares na ibinenta sa pamangkin? 
    di kaya dummy lang siya ng pamilya ng diktador? gaya nung mvp?
    ang pamilyang yan kailangan ng bangko to bankroll the son’s candidacy for higher position.

  • joshua kings

    i’d say that this is sheer hypocrisy.
    if eric recto has only P86 million now, how will he pay the balance of P774 million in 3 annual installments of P258 million? from where he will earn such an amount unless he will sell the shares which ongpin sold to him at a discount? 
    in the first place, is not ongpin and recto evading transfer taxes here by understating the value of the sale? and giving ongpin some tax shield from the ‘losses’ he incurred in disposing of his shares?
    i think that the SEC, BIR and AMLA get themselves involved here, in this transaction…
    we don’t even have to mention that eric and bobby are one and the same since they are relatives.
    this is the kind of chicanery where one can not avoid saying bad words as in put……ng ina.

    • sorbetero

      Paper sale??

    • chris

      did you guys even take a look at the asset of mr. eric recto? …. if he didn’t have $500million in asset….. probably it’s not a sale….. but you don’t know and you just assume…..  what does that make you then?

      • marionics

        i think eric recto appeared in the 10 richest guys in the country list

  • Leodegardo Pruna

    Mr. Ongpin is just doing the right thing- protect his rights and his name from harassment. The truth will come out as it has always been. 

  • tanga_hanga_ni_abnoy

    uutang daw si recto sa DBP tas bebenta nya kay pangilinan



    • ADD

      Korak, mga sumsamba sa salapi na galing sa kaban ng bayan.

  • Jason Cruz

    Barya lang yan Mr Ongpin sa iyo.    Ibalik mo sa bayan yung kinita mo sa DBP.    Sama sama kayo ng nga nakasuhang officials ng banko.   Open secret yan sa DBP na inside trading ng Philex.

  • bilango71

    Sino ang niloloko ni Ongpin?  


    sold to a relative? circus. cheap palusot.

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