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Supreme Court Upholds Ombudsman Decision Clearing BSP Officials Re Urban Bank Closure

10.20.2003

The Supreme Court has dismissed the petition filed by former Urban Bank President Teodoro Borlongan questioning the dismissal by the Ombudsman of the criminal charges he filed against several BSP officials in connection with the closure of Urban Bank.

In a decision dated October 13, 2003, the Supreme Court said: “we find no compelling reason to deviate from the ruling of the Ombudsman that the right to question the action of the BSP officials in closing the bank and placing it under receivership belongs only to the stockholders representing the majority of the capital stock of the banks. (Underscoring ours)

The Supreme Court said Borlongan’s petition raises the sole issue of “ whether or not the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or in excess of jurisdiction in dismissing petitioner’s complaint for lack of probable cause.” In its order dismissing the case, the Supreme Court ruled that the determination whether a probable cause exists lies within the sound discretion of the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Supreme Court declared that “ it can be readily discerned that the findings of the Ombudsman are essentially factual in nature. Accordingly, in assailing such findings and contending that the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion, petitioner is actually raising questions of fact. In resolving whether or not the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion, a review of the evidentiary facts is necessary. This we cannot do for this Court is not a trier of facts. The determination whether a probable cause exists lies within the sound discretion of the Office of the Ombudsman. We have more than once declared our reluctance to interfere in the exercise of such discretion absent any compelling reason.” (Underscoring ours) 

In his petition filed with the Supreme Court, Borlongan assailed the Ombudsman’s decision dated June 24, 2003 dismissing his charges that BSP officials (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Rafael B. Buenaventura, Deputy Governor Alberto V. Reyes, Managing Director Dolores Yuvienco, Director Candon Guerrero, Legal Counsel Juan de Zuniga, Jr., and retired Director Tomas Aure) violated the laws in connection with the closure of Urban Bank. In dismissing Borlongan’s complaint, the Ombudsman ruled that there is no probable cause to hold respondents liable for the crimes charged.

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