Press Release
November 14, 2011


Q. Is Bobby Ongpin off the hook?

Serge: No. No. No. We have to get into the details. You know that's a very complicated deal (GAS loan deal). I have been studying that for 2 months already. The way it is done, hindi mo talaga maintindihan. So I really have to simplify it for you. And the only way to simplify it is this way: They lent money to a $2 corporation, the Global Air Services of the British Virgin Islands, a corporation that is not licensed to do business in the Philippines. So, paano mo kakasuhan iyan eh wala namang address dito? So, pahiramin mo ng $180 million, actually $90M lang from DBP and $90M from Land Bank...paano mo kakasuhan iyan? Kung hindi ka bayaran, paano mo hahabulin iyan?

Q: The loan was $90m from DBP, $90m from Land Bank? And it was used to what?

Serge: They wanted to buy MRT bonds that were all over the place. But why would you give it to a $2 company called GAS? Eh di mag-hire ka na lang ng investment banker diyan sa New York, tulad ng Goldman Sachs, ng Morgan Stanley, at the time siguro, Meryll Lynch was already bought, pero ang daming investment banks that could have bought it and just make sakay of 2%. Dito, sinabi nila na, 'Heto ang presyo namin, pero dito naman ang presyo ng bonds, ang lalayo." Hindi kasi binabayaran ng gobyerno. Dun sa 15% bonds, ang government, siguro, 1 year, 2 years, hindi nagbabayad. Eh kung bonds iyan, ida-dump ng mga buyers iyan. Kasi these are little banks all over the world, Bank of Uruguay, merong may $1 million, Bank of Indo-China, meron $2 million, and they don't like it na hindi dumadating 'yung quarterly or sem-annual payments nila. It's so low, it's only 15%, they can have it.

Q: What case can they be facing here?

Serge: It could be as far as plunder. Because there was a spread, too big a spread between, eto...sinabi nila, 'Eto ang presyo natin ah.' Pero hindi naman sinabi sa public. Kanila lang.

Q: Sino ang liable dito?

Serge: That's what I'd like to find out. Una, the president of the bank. Si Rey David 'yun, sa DBP. Sa Land Bank, the president was Gilda Pico. And even the chairpersons of the Board, the members. Can you imagine approving a loan and there's no borrower? The borrower was named 3 weeks later? Pero aprubado na 'yung loan. Tapos dumating 'yung borrower, ang worth niya $2 lang pala. Eh, teka muna.

Q: Paano na-link si Ongpin sa GAS?

Serge: Kasi 'yung mga bata niya ang signatories. Iyan, si Atty. Ponferrada, si Josephine Manalo. Pagkatapos isang korporasyon na kasama diyan sa GAS, iyong AIVI (Astoria Investments Venture Inc.), nandun 'yung mga 4 na tauhan ni Ongpin. I have a list of all those people who sat on those boards. Huwag niyang sabihin na wala siyang pakialam dito. Bakit nilalagay mo ang mga bata mo diyan?

Q: Kung plunder, paano siya masasama dun?

Serge: The overprice that I saw there was, compared to the entire amount, was not that big, it was $16 million (about P700 million). But hindi natin alam 'yung eksaktong alam nila kung kailan bibili 'yung gobyerno...'yun nga ang in-o-object ko dun sa mga ganitong deals, parating may middle man], hindi ba? Hindi dinadaan ng diretso. So, daan mo muna kay Mr. Ongpin, daan mo muna sa Global 5000, sa Delta Ventures. Ano ba 'yan?!

Q: Tatawagin po ba si dating Secretary Teves?

Serge: Yes, I am going to invite Gary Teves. He has to shed light on this because he was the one who approved this. You know why? Because was not only chairman of Land Bank, he was also the secretary of finance. He was the one who approved this.

Q: 'Yung potential liability in this GAS transaction, it's separate from the DVRI case?

Serge: Yeah. DVRI proven na 'yan. These guys aren't taking this seriously. They are thinking they can fix the courts. But it was a grossly disadvantageous contract to the government bank. Biro mo, 'Halika, humiram ka ng pera. 'Yung credit history mo, hindi bale na. 'Yung financial statement mo hindi na kailangan. 10 waivers! Ang sabi ko nga, 'Ang swerte naman. Sana makakuha din ako ng ganyan.'

Q: But he is denying all these things: that it was a behest loan...

Serge: Because they have a different definition of a 'behest' loan. A behest loan to him is a loan that is not paid back. So, ganito ang example. You steal my car, so carnapping iyan. Pag-iyak mo, sinoli ko sayo 'yung auto. So ano ngayon? There's no crime! Kasi sinoli ko naman. Ganun ba yun? That's why they call it behest loan, because it was given to them at the behest of somebody, and there are 8 elements that would define behest loan. Two elements together considers the loan as behest.

Q: Sabi nila, pang non-performing loans (NPLs) lang 'yan.

Serge: No. It just so happened that when President Ramos issued Memorandum Order #61 in 1992, they were really concerned about the NPLs kasi napakalaki ng NPLs noon. If you look at the definition of behest, it's got to do with the process of lending, which is very lax: no credit check, under-capitalized, wala kang cash flows, merong marginal notes from the Big Boss up there or somewhere. Ganun. There were 8 such elements.

Q: That it was a 'behest' loan was not debunked by a mere denial?

Serge: There is no crime called behest loan. The crime is in the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which is giving undue advantage, or putting the government at a grossly disadvantageous position. That is a crime. Behest is just a part of it. Behest is not mentioned at all in the law.

Q: Suggestion kanina ni Mr. Ongpin, since this is in aid of legislation, magkaroon ng definite definition of what is a behest loan? Masasama kaya iyan sa committee report?

Serge: Yes, yes. We can do that. We can tighten up the law. Because right now, it is just a memorandum order which the Supreme Court adopted in several decisions already, na heto ang definition ng behest loan. So really, may definition kung ano ang behest loan. As a matter of fact, the Supreme Court has thrown out some cases using that judgement and has convicted some people, also using that judgement. So definitely, we will include that.

And you guys also have to know that there has never been a case of insider trading in this country. Wala. And that's ridiculous. Because the Philippines have the worst insider trading practices in the whole world.

Q: 'Yung insider trading ire-re-define din 'yun?

Serge: We will have to tighten it up. Kasi napakaluwang niyan. Mahirap kasuhan ang tao eh. Unless we show the world that we have honest, straight-forward, God-fearing financial structure in place in our country, many people don't like to put their savings here. Kasi, 'Paano mo kakasuha 'yan?' Ganun 'yan eh.

Q: Danding Cojuangco, who is very strong in Sen. Legarda's political party, owns big shares in San Miguel, which also has loans like Mr. Ongpin. Do you think that has something to do why she did not ask tough questions today? You were one of the most vocal people questioning him. But not many other people were as directas you were...

Serge: They're on his side. Senator Angara, Senator Legarda, Sen. Chiz Escudero, Sen. Bongbong Marcos, and Sen. Pia Cayetano. Every hearing, they're on Bobby Ongpin's side.

Q: Kung itutuloy natin ang plunder case, sino-sino ang pwedeng kasuhan and bakit sila kasama dito?

Serge: Well, we have to determine the participants. Mukhang conspiracy. And then, it was a series. Maraming transactions ito. Binili 'yung AIVI, 'yung Ashmore 1, Ashmore 2, 'yung Presidio Capital. But like I said, this is going to be a very complicated thing.

Q: It's hard to determine this early kung sino-sino, but definitely there is plunder?

Serge: Definitely. And if there's anybody who will be charged, it will be the bank presidents who lent the money.

Q: Presidents ng Land Bank and DBP nung time ng loan?

Serge: Yes.

Q: May pattern ito?

Serge: Yes, looks to me there's a pattern. And everybody knows how Mike Arroyo does it. For example, the one of Meralco, ganun din. Dinaan muna sa Global 5000, bakit hindi pa diniretso sa San Miguel Corporation? Iyon naman ang eventual buyer, eh. Pagkatapos kumuha ng 3 years to pay, na mas malaki pa ang dibidendo na tinatanggap nila sa Meralco kesa 'yung interest na binabayaran nila sa loan. Tapos naka-upo na sila sa Meralco, ayun, kumukuha din sila ng pera dun. And then, there was Petron. Marami pa. We just don't have time to check into it.

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