House to probe ‘bad loans’ in DBP worth P9.6-B

Marje Pelayo   •   February 17, 2021   •   676

MANILA, Philippines — The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability resumed on Wednesday (February 17) the inquiry on the alleged condonation of the P1.6-B loans made by companies controlled by or affiliated with the Lopez family from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability unanimously agreed to a motion that seeks to include in the on-going inquiry all “bad loans” that the DBP sold to special purpose vehicles (SPV) or financial companies at a loss in 2006.

But the DBP divulged that there is almost P9.6 billion pesos worth of non-performing loans and assets including those of the Lopezes.

“Magkano ang total amount na na-dispose nyo under the framework of the (Special Purpose Vehicle Act of 2002 (SPV) law? As you have said earlier, iyong P1.6B parte lang portfolio nyo of the non-performing assets,” asked Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr.

In response to Garbin, the DBP admitted to have sold P9.556 billion of non-performing assets.

The SPV Law allows banks to sell those kinds of loans at a lower value.

“Not only the Lopezes but the entire conglomerates or entities that benefited from the framework of the SPV Law ay dapat isama natin lahat,” Garbin said.

DBP also notified the lawmakers that they currently have around P7.5 billion pesos in non-performing loans and assets.

The Committee agreed to conduct an executive session to determine all the companies that failed to pay loans extended by the bank.

Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor also filed a motion for the issuance of a subpoena that will compel the DBP board and management to submit the list of private companies that failed to pay loans extended by the bank, which the panel approved.

The DBP, for its part, stated that they are willing to provide the needed documents.

“In spirit, I’d like to say that we have been obedient to the due process of this honorable Committee,” said DBP President and CEO Emmanuel Herbosa. 

Meanwhile, Committee Chairperson Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay apologized to President Rodrigo Duterte for the delay of the inquiry on the matter.

According to Aglipay, this is to give way to DBP to produce the requested documents.

“Mr. President, I’m sincerely sorry. And may I humbly request for your forgiveness for the inconvenience that may have caused you by reasons of this hearing,” Aglipay said. 

In his public address on February 8, Duterte once again took a swipe at the Lopezes saying that he will not allow its network ABS-CBN to operate even if they were granted a fresh franchise. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Lawmaker expresses dismay over House hearing on COVID-19 supplies anomaly

Maris Federez   •   October 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker on Thursday expressed his disappointment on how the hearing on the alleged anomalous procurement of COVID-19 supplies from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation has turned out.

House Deputy Speaker and Buhay Partylist Representative Lito Atienza said he is ashamed at the turn of events of the investigation of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, especially on the matter concerning Pharmally.

“Ako ay miyembro ng Kongreso. Pero tatapatin kita, maraming ginagawa sa Kongreso ikinahihiya ko. Masama lamang na magresign. Lumipat ka na, pero hindi ako natutuwa sa mga nangyayari sa Kongreso. Tama ka. Parang gusto nilang iabswelto ang Pharmally,” Atienza said.

Atienza was referring to how the committee handled the hearing and the stance of the committee chairman that seemed to be defending the pharmaceutical company.

“Malayo na ang imbestigasyon ng Senado. Makikialam kayo sasabihin niyo wala naman palang kasalanan. Sino nagsabi? Kayo? Ano ang pagbabasehan niyo diyan? ‘Yung sinabi ng kalaban, yung sinabi ng akusado na ginagamit niyong pruweba? Anong klaseng imbestigasyon yan?” Atienza required.

Diwa Partylist Representative Michael Aglipay who chairs the panel did not give his comment on Atienza’s allegation.

He, however, gave his assurance during the committee’s October 4 hearing that they will be issuing a fair and truthful committee report on the investigation.

“As chairman, I’m always for the truth, nothing else. If there is evidence to pin down the officials of the government, then we shall strongly recommend charges against them before the appropriate courts and tribunals. We will decide swiftly where the evidence takes us. Rest assured our committee report will be fair and based on evidence,” Aglipay said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Pharmally’s Mago recants statement on alleged expired face shields

Maris Federez   •   October 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — After going missing for over a week, Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation’s Krizle Grace Mago appeared before the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability hearing on Monday (October 4).

During the hearing, Mago recanted her earlier statement that the face shields her company delivered to the government were already expired.

“Wala pong expired na face shield. Ang instruction na rinelay ko sa warehouse personnel is to repack ‘yung mga face shield into 10 pieces per packaging,” she said.

“Then nagsabi sila maraming product certificates and I told them to choose just one,” Mago added.

Mago said the certificates must have been mixed up during the company’s inventory as part of their quality control protocol.

“I do admit that it was a pressured response. Given the amount of pressure I was under at that time, and rush of emotions…I was not in the proper frame of mind to think clearly,” Mago said regarding her prior admission when she appeared before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on September 24.

“I was really traumatized by what happened and it really had a negative impact on my mental health po,” she told congressmen.

Mago also said that she was not coached to recant her previous claims.

The House of Representatives placed Mago under protective custody. —/mbmf

Makabayan bloc files resolution to probe DOH on budget issue

Maris Federez   •   August 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives (HOR) on Monday filed a resolution calling for an investigation into the Commission on Audit (COA) 2020 Annual Audit Report regarding the Department of Health’s (DOH) alleged misuse of its budget.

The Makabayan solons urged the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability and the Committee on Public Accounts to look into the reported deficiencies in the use of the P67.32-billion COVID-19 response fund.

“Amid this COVID-19 pandemic, the government, especially the DOH, are expected to efficiently allocate and use the limited resources in the pursuit of ending the health crisis,” they said.

The progressive group stressed that the DOH had committed “grave inefficiency, gross incompetence and criminal negligence” in handling their budget.

“The inefficiency, delay, and the incompetence in the delivery of the much-needed services to the public already amount to criminal negligence as thousands of Filipinos already died and are dying of getting infected of the viral disease,” the solons said.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, on the other hand, maintained that the funds are accounted for, and that the flagged issues are being addressed by the department.

Duque also denied that there was corruption within the agency.

COA, for its part, also clarified that it never mentioned in its 2020 audit report that the DOH COVID-19 pandemic budget was lost due to corruption. —/mbmf (with details from UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

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