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2 tycoons, banker indicted for graft

OVER a questionable P9-billion  Meralco  deal, the Office of the Ombudsman   on Thursday indicted Land Bank executive Gilda Pico and two of the country’s richest men for multiple graft raps.

Also facing charges were former Social Security System chairman Thelmo Cunanan;  former vice chairman Romulo Neri, and former board members Donald Dee, Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., Fe Tibayan Palileo, Victorino Balais , two labor sector representatives Jose Matula and Marianita Mendoza.

The Ombudsman’s field investigation office implicated  former Land Bank executives Margarito Teves and Marianito Roque, and former board members Patricia Rualo-Bello, Eduardo Nolasco, Albert Balingit, Ombre Hamsirani, George Regalado, Cyril Del Callar, Roberto Vergara and Carel Halog.

Also included in the complaint sheet were Global 5000 executives  Iñigo Zobel de Ayala;    Roberto Ongpin; Joselito Campos Jr.; Consuelo Eden Lagao, and Rhodel Gandingco.

 Pico, Vergara and Halog were also facing administrative charges for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best Interest of the service.

The Ombudsman said the respondents have violated Sections 3(e) and 3(g) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection with the block sale of Meralco shares of stock to Global 5000 (Global) in 2008 to 2009.

Based on the investigation of the Ombudsman, sometime in January 2009, Cunanan and other SSS officials approved the block sale of the SSS shares to Global 5000 for P5.669 billion at P90 per share with a down payment of P1.133 billion in January 2009.

In an audit observation memorandum, the Commission on Audit said the “block sale was not in accordance with sound business practice as it has the effect of giving a P4.535-billion loan Global 5000” that had an initial paid-up capital of only P62.5million.

Documents showed the SSS executives waived voting rights to Global 5000 despite the lack of full payment and actual transfer of ownership.

Meanwhile, an ongoing investigation is being conducted against the Land Bank officials for the approval of P4.193-billion (P90 per share) block sale of the Meralco shares of stock in favor of Global 5000.

In a complaint, the field investigators said bank executives gave unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to Global 5000, “a firm with doubtful financial capacity and no track record to undertake the sale.”

In addition, the Ombudsman said the bank officials entered into a stock purchase agreement without any negotiations and was undertaken in just 10 days.

In another development, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales yesterday issued a “very important public advisory.”

 She  cautioned  the public  against  fake decisions or resolutions being circulated by unscrupulous individuals.

  “The Office recently discovered the existence of fake decisions received by respondents in Camarines Norte which turned out to be spurious and non-existent. Presently, the Office is conducting an in-depth investigation on the matter,” the Ombudsman’s statement read.

“In case of doubt, the public may validate or verify with the Office the authenticity of the purported resolution or decision.”

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