‘Plastics King’ Gatchalian posts bail in anomalous bank buyout deal
“Plastics King” William Gatchalian, the father of Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, on Wednesday posted his P90,000 bail in his criminal case over the allegedly anomalous buyout of an insolvent bank by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) in 2009.
The businessman on Wednesday paid P90,000 bail–P30,000 for one count of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, P40,000 for one count of Malversation of Public Funds as defined under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, and P20,000 for one count of violation of the Manual of Regulation for Banks (MORB).
He is a co-accused in the case of former LWUA chair and Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr. who was charged with three counts of graft, three counts of malversation, one count of violation of MORB and one count of violation of Republic Act 8791 or General Banking Law of 2000. He has yet to post bail.
William Gatchalian’s wife Dee Hua Gatchalian and son Kenneth Gatchalian also posted the same amount of bail for the same set of charges.
On Tuesday, former Alay Buhay representative now Valenzuela congresswoman Weslie Gatchalian posted his P90,000 bail. Meanwhile, Senator Win Gatchalian posted his P90,000 bail on Friday.
The Gatchalians were charged as then executives of Wellex Group Inc. owned by William Gatchalian, who earned the moniker “Plastics King” for his plastic business.
Wellex Group Inc. (WGI) and Forum Pacific Inc. (FP) co-owned the Express Savings Bank Inc., (Esbi), a local thrift bank based in Laguna owned by the Gatchalian family. Esbi was acquired by LWUA to save the bank from bankruptcy.
The following have also posted their P90,000 bail–Wellex executives Elvira Ting and Yolanda Dela Cruz; FPI executives Weslie Gatchalian, Peter Salud, Rogelio D. Garcia, Lamberto Mercado Jr., Evelyn de la Rosa; and ESBI executive Generoso Tulagan.
Meanwhile, Esbi executive Gregorio Ipong paid his P140,000 bail.
According to the Ombudsman, Pichay and other LWUA officials approved the acquisition of the insolvent bank in 2009 despite audit findings that show that the bank suffered net losses and capital deficits for five straight years from 2005 to 2009.
The acquisition took the effect of a financial rescue, as the LWUA officials bought 445,377 Esbi shares worth P101.363 million from the Gatchalian group that gave the agency 60-percent equity in the bankrupt bank.
Pichay and the other officials later injected P780 million LWUA funds to the bank to increase its authorized capital stock.
The Gatchalians of Wellex and other owners of the bank were also paid P80 million in the acquisition.
The LWUA made the acquisition and transactions despite warnings by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Monetary Board of the BSP, and the Department of Finance (DOF) about the Esbi’s fragile financial condition following a due diligence review that showed high liquidity and credit risks.
The acquisition was also made without the requisite regulatory approvals from the BSP, its Monetary Board, the DOF and the Office of the President.
In ordering the filing of charges to the Sandiganbayan, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said “in view of the bank’s precarious financial standing at the time of the sale, the windfall received by herein private respondents must be deemed unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference.” CDG
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