CoA Head: 'Insider Trade' Rap Is for SEC to Probe

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Audit (CoA) Chairperson Ma. Gracia M. Pulido-Tan revealed Friday that there are indications or questions that there are some form of insider trading or fraud that attended the purchase and eventual sale of 50 million Philex shares by a firm owned by businessman Roberto V. Ongpin funded by a P610-million loan it got from the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) in 2009.

Although she said that she is not yet ready to allege that insider trading is a fact, Tan nevertheless told two Senate committees that the insider trading issue be looked into by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) "because it is our thinking that the SEC is a government agency better equipped and with a better (understanding) to look into the matter.''

Tan told the Senate Blue Ribbon committee chaired by Sen. Teofisto L. Guingona III and the Senate banks committee chaired by Sen. Sergio R.Osmena III that the fraud angle of the loan and on the questionable sale of the Philex shares are now being investigated by the CoA fraud and investigation department headed by Leonor Boado.

In a letter, businessman Roberto Ongpin yesterday said he was eager to appear in the investigation of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee into the alleged "behest loans" that the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) granted to him in order to shed light on the transactions.

Ongpin was not able to attend Senate hearing yesterday as he is currently in Europe for business meetings, but told the Senate panel in his letter that he would personally explain the circumstances surrounding the loans from the state-owned lender and address the baseless allegations leveled against him by the present board led by its chairman, Jose Nunez.

"I regret that I am unable to attend the hearing scheduled for this morning as I am currently in Europe in the middle of various business meetings. But I am eager to appear before the Senate at any time after I arrive on the 25th of October," Ongpin said.

Ongpin maintained that the loans obtained by his Deltaventure Resources Inc. …