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Supreme Court Dismisses Criminal Charges vs. BSP Officials

09.11.2003

The Supreme Court has denied a petition to try Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Rafael B. Buenaventura and 20 others on criminal charges arising from the closure of Urban Bank and its affiliates in April 2000.

The original complaint, which was filed by lawyer Benjamin F.S. Tabios, Jr. was earlier dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman for lack of “clear and sufficient basis.” Tabios later elevated the case to the Court of Appeals which also dismissed it.

This developed as former Urban Bank President Teodoro C. Borlongan reportedly asked the Supreme Court to reverse a ruling of the Ombudsman dismissing his own falsification charges against BSP officials also over the Urban Bank closure.

Assistant Governor Juan de Zuniga, Jr., BSP General Counsel, said the BSP has yet to receive copy of Borlongan’s new petition but expressed confidence that the BSP would have good grounds to oppose it.

Zuniga drew a parallel between Borlongan’s charges and the petition of Tabios just dismissed by the Supreme Court. He said Borlongan’s charges had been dismissed by the Ombudsman twice.

In a minute resolution dated August 11, 2003, the Supreme Court Third Division denied Tabios’ petition for review on certiorari “for failure of petitioner to show that a reversible error had been committed by the appellate court.”

In dismissing the Tabios case, the Ombudsman said “it is against logic and human behavior for the respondents who are the highest officials of BSP and members of the prestigious Monetary Board to resort to fabrication of a very insignificant matter when the principal officials (referring to Teodoro Borlongan, then President, and Arsenio Bartolome, then Board Chairman) of UBI, the mother company of UDB, had previously notified BSP officials of UBI’s declaration of bank holiday, which UDB followed suit being a mere “subsidiary”. The Ombudsman said “the case of UDB’s closure was precipitated by its own declaration of a bank holiday.”

The Ombudsman chided Tabios for making a “shotgun approach by impleading as many respondents as he could.” As it turned out, the Ombudsman said, “the complaint affidavit did not present proofs to establish the elements of the ascribed crimes.”

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