Ongpin, coaccused seek junking of raps
MANILA, Philippines—The accused in the two graft cases connected to the alleged P660-million behest loan granted to Deltaventures Resources Inc. (DVRI), a company beneficially owned by businessman Roberto Ongpin, on Monday asked the Sandiganbayan to immediately resolve their motion to dismiss the cases filed against them by the Ombudsman ahead of their scheduled arraignment on Nov. 14.
In their urgent joint motion before the antigraft court’s Third Division, Ongpin and former Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) chair Patricia Sto. Tomas, along with their 17 coaccused, prayed for an early resolution to quash the information, which has been pending for nearly two months.
DVRI used the loan to acquire Philex Mining Corp. shares owned by DBP and then sold these to businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan months later, allowing the latter to gain control of the country’s biggest gold producer.
Ongpin and other accused individuals adopted the motion to quash dated Aug. 28 filed by former DBP officials and directors.
In their motion, the accused said there was lack of probable cause to indict them, as they were just collateral damage in what they described as “politically spiced legal intricacies.”
Through their counsel, the accused DBP officers and members of credit committees or members of its board of directors denied conspiring with one another to release the loan to DVRI as they were just performing their ministerial functions when they recommended its approval.
“Outside of conspiracy, or without conspiracy, the accused could in no way be connected to the criminal charges therein,” said their defense lawyer.
“And since there is no conspiracy, how can probable cause exist against the accused?” the counsel asked.
The accused likewise pointed to the absence of a violation of banking laws and rules of the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas.—Cynthia D. Balana
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