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Mike Arroyo behind DBP behest loans—Sen. Osmeña

Senator Sergio Osmeña III: 110 percent sure. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

In the end, it’s still former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.

Senator Sergio Osmeña III on Wednesday wrapped up the first part of the committee on banks’ investigation into the alleged P660-million “behest” loan granted by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to businessman Roberto “Bobby” Ongpin, a friend of Arroyo.

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And just as he charged during the initial committee hearing in October last year, the senator pointed to the former first gentleman as the one who influenced the government-owned and -controlled DBP to extend the loan during the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2009.

“I’m 110 percent convinced that FG controlled Rey David,” he told reporters, referring to the former DBP president under whose watch Ongpin’s company acquired the loan.

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Osmeña said he was in touch with “some witness” against Arroyo, but who were “too scared to come out openly.” “(There are) two very serious witnesses…then there are other witnesses who saw documents,” he said.

Asked how much  Arroyo might have pocketed in the allegedly anomalous transaction, the senator said: “I cannot expose what they (witnesses) are going to tell. It’s not in pesos and centavos.”

“I don’t know because like I said, he does it through other people. You wouldn’t see his name (in the transactions)…he has some smart lawyers cooking these things up for him, but  these things would come out,” he added.

But Osmeña admitted that he has to establish “on paper” the alleged involvement of Arroyo in the DBP loan.

“I have information, but I have not come up with what I call evidence that I can present in the impeachment court (so to speak) that it was really Mike Arroyo,” he said.

“Behest means there is a powerful official outside a powerful person who has extreme influence over DBP officers,” he added. “This loan could have been done at the behest of David, but of course, David takes his orders from somebody.”

The Senate hearings showed that the DBP had waived certain requirements that allowed Ongpin’s Delta Ventures Resources Inc. to secure two successive loans amounting to P660 million from the government institution, all with relative ease in 2009.

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Ongpin then used the second loan of P550 million to purchase DBP’s 50 million shares at Philex Mining Corp. at P12.75. He later sold these shares, along with other Philex shares in his possession, as a block to businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan at P21 per share.

The purchase allowed Pangilinan to gain control of the country’s biggest gold and copper mining company. At the time of the transaction, Ongpin and David were both sitting in the Philex board.

Having spent nine hearings on the DBP loan, Osmeña said his committee was far from being done with its investigation. The idea apparently was to show a purported “pattern” of involvement by the Arroyo couple in certain big-ticket transactions.

Osmeña said his committee would next look into similar loans granted by the LandBank of the Philippines, including the sale of DBP shares in Petron Corp. and the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to companies supposedly affiliated with Ongpin.

In a previous hearing, David admitted that the DBP had sold the DBP’s Meralco shares worth around P540 million to Global 5000 Investment Inc., a company allegedly involving Ongpin.

In 2008, the DBP had also sold its shares in Petron to the UK-based Ashmore Group, which was represented by Ongpin, David admitted under questioning by the Senate committee.

“I would like to congratulate you. The DBP could read these big plays that were going to happen—Meralco takeover, Petron takeover, Philex takeover—and that is the time to make money,” Osmeña had told David. With Kate Evangelista, INQUIRER.net

Originally posted at 08:33 pm | Wednesday, June 13,  2012

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TAGS: Banking, behest loans, Business, DBP, hearing, Loans, Mike Arroyo, Roberto Ongpin, Senate, Sergio Osmeña III
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