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Ombudsman Clears BSP Governor in Urban Cases

07.04.2002

The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed the criminal complaint filed by Teodoro C. Borlongan, former President of Urban Bank, Inc. against Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Rafael B. Buenaventura and other BSP officials for alleged violation of Article 171(4) and (5) of the Revised Penal Code, Section 3(e) of Republic Act (RA) No. 3019, as amended, Sec. 4 of RA No. 6713 and Section 16 of RA No. 7653 (New Central Bank Act). In dismissing the criminal cases, the Office of the Ombudsman said “it finds no probable cause to indict respondents for the crimes charged.”

The Ombudsman likewise dismissed the related administrative case filed by Borlongan against Gov. Buenaventura and BSP General Counsel Juan de Zuniga,Jr. However, the Ombudsman said the other respondent BSP officials, namely Alberto V. Reyes, Dolores Yuvienco, Candon Guerrero and Tomas Aure are administratively liable for “simple neglect of duty.”

Governor Buenventura said he is pleased with the dismissal of the Urban Bank-related criminal and administrative cases filed against him and the BSP general counsel as this affirms that the closure of Urban Bank was in accordance with law. He quoted the very finding of the Ombudsman as follows: “ …UBI’s declaration of a bank holiday on April 25,2000 supports the factual decreasing liquidity of the bank to meet its obligations on time. Hence, the circumstances leading to the issuance of the questioned Monetary Board Resolutions No. 634,635, and 636 ordering UBI’s and UDB’s closure and placing them under receivership as well as the revocation of the trust license of UII, respectively are justified.”

Governor Buenaventura added that the Ombudsman decision against the other BSP respondents was premised on a “simple neglect of duty” and he believes there would be sufficient grounds to seek reconsideration thereof.

In the first place, the Ombudsman cited insolvency which was not an issue in the closure of Urban Bank and Governor Buenaventura reiterated that the closure of Urban Bank was prompted by its declaration of a bank holiday.

The Ombudsman stated that the present complaint substantially contained issues that were practically the same with those in a previous case that was filed by then Rep. Michael Defensor against the same respondents. The said case was eventually dismissed after the requisite preliminary investigation. While the complainant in the said case is different from the therein complainant, the fact is that they have an identity of interest. A close scrutiny of the records, continued the Ombudsman, revealed that this case is a virtual reiteration, if not repetition of the allegations and charges in the said previous case.

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