7 face graft over P4.2-B loss on loan guarantees

President Benigno S. Aquino III leads the flag raising ceremonies for the commemoration of the 118th anniversary of the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal at the Rizal National Monument in Rizal Park, Manila City on Tuesday (December 30), with the theme: “Rizal 2014: Dunong at PusongPilipino.” With the President are Vice President JejomarBinay, Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, National Historical Commission of the Philippines chairperson Dr. Maria Serena Diokno and NHCP executive director LudovicoBadoy. (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III leads the flag raising ceremonies for the commemoration of the 118th anniversary of the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal at the Rizal National Monument in Rizal Park, Manila City on Tuesday (December 30), with the theme: “Rizal 2014: Dunong at PusongPilipino.” With the President are Vice President JejomarBinay, Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, National Historical Commission of the Philippines chairperson Dr. Maria Serena Diokno and NHCP executive director LudovicoBadoy. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Ombudsman has ordered the filing of graft cases against two officials of a government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC) and five officers of a private company for allegedly causing the government to lose P4.2 billion in loan guarantees.

A news release from the Office of the Ombudsman identified the GOCC officers as Rolando Alonzo and Teresita Cometa, executive vice president and account officer, respectively, of Philippine Export Loan Guarantee Corporation, formerly Trade Investment Development Corporation (TIDCORP).

Also facing charges over alleged violation of Section (3) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act are Alison Sy, Guillermo Sy, Derick Chester Sy, Renato Ang, and Nena Ang of World Grannary Inc (WGI).

The Ombudsman said based on the documents it gathered, TIDCORP approved the request of WGI for a guarantee facility in 2003 and 2004 amounting to P1.8 billion payable in 10 years subject to several loan conditions.

In the implementation of the loan agreement, ABN-AMRO extended a bridge loan to WGI with TIDCORP as guarantor.

But according to the Ombudsman, WGI failed to pay up its first interest payment on the loan three years later. It added that as a result of its continued default, TIDCORP, as guarantor, was constrained to pay the liabilities to the lender-banks.

As of February 29, 2012, TIDCORP paid the banks the total amount of P1.87 billion.

TIDCORP management then decided to conduct a transaction audit, which resulted to the discovery of substantial irregularieties in the transaction.

The audit findings were then referred to the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, which recommended the filing of criminal cases against Alonzo, Cometa, and WGI representatives.

The Ombudsman found Cometa and Alonzo directly responsible for the implementation of credit policies, credit evaluation, documentation, credit administration billing and collection process with respect to the WGI account.

“It was the duty of Cometa and Alonzo to thoroughly evaluate and study the account of WGI… based on evidence, Cometa and Alonzo were the ones who supplied the (TIDCORP) Board with erroneous, fraudulent, and incomplete information, which were used as the basis for the Board’s approval,” Morales said in her resolution.

The resolution also stated that the WGI representatives were included in the charge sheet since “a close scrutiny of the circumstances of the case clearly indicates that both the private and public respondents were involved in a scheme violative of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”

It added that the government suffered undue injury in the total amount of P4.2 billion of unrealized/foregone revenue, interest, advances, service and other charges, penalty, and gross tax receipts.(MNS)

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