DBP execs sued for plunder over P292-M ‘midnight deal’
Top officials of Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) have been sued for plunder before the Ombudsman for entering into an allegedly anomalous “midnight deal” for a banking solution contract ahead of the bank’s merger with Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).
Complainants from the Association of DBP Career Officials charged with plunder DBP president Gil Buenaventura, chief legal counsel Fritzie Tangkia-Fabricante, executive vice president Anthony Robles, and senior vice presidents Dennis Decena and Nilo Cruz.
The complainants, led by the association president Francis Romulo Badilla, alleged that the bank officials entered into an anomalous contract with joint venture Kaisa Consulting Company and Polaris Consulting and Service Limited for an integrated core banking solution for DBP.
The complainants cited a Commission on Audit report which said the procurement was overpriced and rigged to favor the joint venture.
They said the DBP officials approved technical specifications that would favor Polaris and disqualify the other bidders.
The officials entered into the P292.9-million contract with the joint venture on June 2015, a month after the House of Representatives approved on final reading the merger of DBP and LBP.
The complainants called the contract a “midnight deal” because the contract was signed ahead of President Benigno Aquino III’s go-signal for the merger between the two banks.
The complainants said under the special conditions of the contract, a procuring entity should terminate the contract when the project would be financially impractical because of a possible merger of DBP with another entity.
The DBP board of directors also issued a resolution for the merger on March 2015.
“Respondents … despite full knowledge of the foregoing provision and the approval in the House of Representatives of the merger of LBP and DBP, did nothing to prevent the signing of the said contract and in fact facilitated the contract by signing off said contract,” the complaint said.
The complainants said the bank officials caused undue injury to government by illegally disbursing P292.985 million to the joint venture.
On February 2016, Aquino issued the executive order to merge DBP and LBP, with the former as the surviving entity.
The EO said the merger “will build a stronger and more competitive universal development bank able to fulfill its mandate of providing banking services to propel countryside development and to contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth.”
Earlier, the complainants filed a graft complaint against the top DBP officials over the alleged “wash” sale of securities that incurred P717 million in losses to government, as well as a plunder complaint over excessive bonuses amounting to P312 million in 2014. RC
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