Gatchalian: HDO just procedure, does not mean case is strong
The hold departure order (HDO) issued by the Sandiganbayan was not an indication that the case against him in connection with the alleged anomalous buyout of an insolvent bank in 2009 was strong, newly elected Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said on Wednesday.
Gatchalian said the HDO was “purely a matter of course which is to be expected after the filing of an information before the Sandiganbayan.”
“It is merely to ensure that the accused remain within the jurisdiction of the court during the duration of the proceedings,” he said in a text message when sought for comment on the court’s order against him and other coaccused.
“The release of an HDO does not indicate that the case is particularly strong. It is a purely procedural order which does not speak on the merits of the case,” the senator said.
“In many cases, the court will still allow the accused to leave the country for legitimate reasons if he files the proper motion.”
Gatchalian was among those charged with graft, malversation of public funds, and violation of the manual of regulation for banks over the alleged anomalous buyout of the Express Savings Bank Inc., (Esbi), a local thrift bank based in Laguna, by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).
The senator was corporate executive of the Wellex Group Inc. (WGI) which co-owned the bank.
The LWUA allegedly approved the acquisition of the the insolvent bank in 2009 despite suffering net losses and capital deficits from 2005 to 2009.
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