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PNoy warns corrupt DBP officials: Please do not test me

February 3, 2012 7:11pm
Corrupt officials in Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) will be pursued and punished if they will not correct their ways, President Benigno Aquino III said Friday
 
“To the dregs of the old system who might still be holding on to their ways, despite my express, direct order to tread the straight path: Please do not test me,” Aquino said in his speech during the 65th anniversary of DBP.
 
“I can be a patient man, but my patience has its limits — especially for those who stand as obstacles to reform,” he added.
 
“We will be continuing our pursuit, conviction, and punishment of those who have done wrong,” Aquino said.
 
Last year, controversies involving past transactions rocked DBP that led to the suicide of assistant vice president Benjamin Pinpin.
 
The Commission on Audit said that in 2009, the DBP granted Delta Venture Resources Inc. (DVRI) P660 million in loans. The money was used to buy Philex Mining Corp. shares.
 
DVRI, through DBP, bought the Philex shares at P12.75 apiece and later on sold at P21.00 per share.
 
At the time of the transaction, businessman Roberto Ongpin, owner of DVRI, and former DBP president Reynaldo David were both Philex board members.
 
The transaction could have been tainted by insider trading, according to COA during last year Senate hearings on the matter.

Dirty secrets of a privileged class
 
David denied having prior knowledge that the price of Philex would surge after the stocks were sold to another company.
 
Also, Senator Serge Osmeña III revealed that DBP in 2008 approved a $90-million (P3.8 billion) loan to Ongpin-controlled Global Air Services which was supposedly not licensed to do business in the Philippine and was capitalized at only $2.
 
Aquino said such deals were the dirty secrets of a privileged class of bank patrons who bullied their way over the hundreds of decent and competent DBP employees who wanted to do the right thing.
 
“It was a decade in which the real bosses of the DBP — the Filipino people — were shoved out of the way in favor of a privileged few. Today, on the beginning of its 65th year, the DBP has begun to close the door on that lost decade,” he said.
 
He added the DBP has begun to reclaim its honor by holding accountable those who abused the institution.
 
Also, after 19 months, the straight and narrow path has led the DBP back to its true purpose: financial support in line with the agenda of development, poverty reduction, and inclusive growth, Aquino said.
 
During the event, DBP president and CEO Francisco del Rosario Jr. reported on new DBP initiatives to increase assistance to various priority thrusts of the Aquino administration, including the P20-billion Connecting Rural and Urban Intermodal Systems Efficiently or CRUISE to promote investments in transport infrastructure.
 
DBP officials, board members and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima also presented the President with a symbolic check for P4 billion representing dividends that accrued to the national government. The real check will be given during the Government-Owned and Controlled- Corporations  Governance Day next Monday, Feb. 6.
 
Forty-one of DBP’s 458 scholars for school year 2011-2012 under the DBP Endowment for Education Program or DEEP were also introduced to President Aquino during Friday’s event. — VS, GMA News



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