Sandigan upholds ruling dismissing graft case against Ongpin over behest loans | Inquirer News
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Sandigan upholds ruling dismissing graft case against Ongpin over behest loans

/ 03:23 PM March 31, 2015

The Sandiganbayan has junked government lawyers’ appeal to reverse its earlier ruling dismissing the graft case of businessman Roberto Ongpin over alleged behest loans.

In a resolution promulgated March 27 but released on Tuesday, the antigraft court special division said the prosecutors did not raise new arguments to counter its May 2014 resolution quashing the graft information against Ongpin, then Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) board chair Patricia Sto. Tomas and 17 others.

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“After going through the instant motion, we find that there are no substantial arguments that would warrant a reversal of our May 28, 2014 Resolution and in fact, the issues raised by the prosecution are the very same matters that have been previously been passed upon and resolved by the Court in the assailed Resolution,” the resolution penned by Associate Justice Samuel Martires read.

The court said it denied the appeal for “utter paucity of merit.”

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In its earlier ruling quashing the graft information, the court said the findings of the investigating officers contradict the information of the complaint or of the documents which were relied upon during the initial probe.

The court also said while the government claimed the alleged behest loans caused injury to government, the evidence showed otherwise that the loans were in fact not granted due to Ongpin’s influence and these were duly paid with interest.

Associate justices Oscar Herrera and Maria Christina Cornejo dissented to the decision, saying the quashal is an “unwarranted turnaround” of the court’s previous decision finding validity to the graft charge and issuing arrest warrants, and thus makes the court’s stand “inconsistent.”

Ongpin was accused of using his connections to receive P600 million in alleged behest loans from DBP through his company Deltaventures Resources Inc. (DVRI).

Prosecutors said Ongpin received the loans even when the said loans were under-collaterized and the company undercapitalized.

Ongpin through DVRI supposedly used the DBP loans to buy Philex Mining Corp. shares which were also owned by DBP.

He then allegedly sold these shares to businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan months later, allowing the latter to gain control of the country’s biggest gold producer. RC/TVJ

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TAGS: Deltaventures Resources, Development Bank of the Philippines, Graft, Patricia Sto. Tomas, Philex Mining Corp., Roberto Ongpin, Sandiganbayan
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