President: Declassify DBP Loan Documents

Manila Bulletin, September 25, 2011 | Go to article overview

President: Declassify DBP Loan Documents


MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno S. Aquino III has ordered the declassification, for purposes of examination or investigation, of the documents on the more than P17 billion in "exceptional cases of alleged anomalous transactions" made by the former officials of the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

Ordered declassified were documents pertaining to the P660-million loans to Delta Ventures Resources, Inc. (DVRI) in 2009, the $60-million investment in the now bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc., the $90- million loan to Global Air Services,Inc. in 2008, and the installment sale of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) shares in 2009.

Under the DBP law, only the President or a written permission from the client or an order from a court of competent jurisdiction can authorize the declassification of information on transactions made by the state-owned bank whose primary function is to grant loans for countryside development.

The authority to declassify information was contained in a letter sent to DBP President and Chief Executive Officer Francisco F. Del Rosario Jr. by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. who signed "By Authority of the President."

According to Ochoa, the permission to declassify information was in line with Section 22 of Executive Order No. 81 (Revised Charter of the DBP) which states that "except as required by law, or upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or the express order of the President of the Philippines or written permission of the client, no officer or employee of the bank (DBP) shall reveal to, nor allow to be examined, inquired or looked into, by any third person, government official, bureau or office any information relative to details of individual accounts or specific banking transactions...."

The President's declassification authority imposed two conditions, namely: "That with respect to bank deposits or whatever nature, the provisions of existing banking laws shall apply, and that the disclosure of information shall be made to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and other government agencies/bodies specifically clothed with power and authority to investigate and make inquiry under existing laws and jurisprudence."

Del Rosario sought the declassification because of the criminal and administrative cases filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against Roberto V. Ongpin and several incumbent and former bank officials led by former president Reynaldo G. David, former chair of the DBP board Patricia A. Sto. Tomas, and senior executive vice president and chief operating officer Edgardo F. Garcia.

Even the Senate and the House of Representatives have expressed their intentions to investigate the alleged anomalous transactions made by former DBP officials.

The Office of the Ombudsman had found "enough basis" to proceed with the preliminary investigation of the charges, and directed Ongpin, David, Sto. Tomas, Garcia and 22 other DBP officials and two other private individuals to file their counter-affidavits.

Also ordered to file their counter-affidavits were private individuals Josephine A. Manalo and Ma. Lourdes A. Torres; former DBP directors Ramon R. Durano IV, Alexander I. Magno, Floro F. Oliveros, Joseph N. Pangilinan, Miguel L. Romero and Renato S. Velasco; DBP director Franklin M. Velarde; senior executive vice president Armando O. Samia; former senior executive vice presidents Rolando S.C. …

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