THE Court of Appeals (CA) has exonerated several officers of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) who were ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with their participation in alleged irregularities in 2009.
In a 40-page decision penned by Associate Justice Ricardo Rosario and concurred in by Associate Justices Edwin Sorongon and Eduardo Peralta Jr., the CA’s 16th Division granted petitions filed by Cresencia R. Bundoc, Arturo C. Baliton, Edgardo F. Garcia, Marissa S. Cayetano, Nelson P. Macatlang, Warren P. de Guzman, Franklin M. Velarde and Renato S. Velasco.
It reversed and set aside the review decision of the Ombudsman finding the respondents guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Also exonerated were Alexander I. Magno, Benedicto Ernesto R. Bitonio, Jr., Ma. Teresita S. Tolentino and Jesus S. Guevara 2nd.
“The administrative charges against petitioners are dismissed and all principal and accessory penalties imposed upon them are hereby set aside and vacated,” the CA held.
Records of the case showed that petitioners were among the directors and officers of the DBP administratively charged for their involvement in the supposed anomalies surrounding the grant and release of DBP of two loans to Deltaventure Resources Inc. (DVRI); the sale of its P50-million common shares in Philex Mining Corp. (Philex) to Goldenmedia Corp. (GMC) for the sum of P637.5 million; and the sale of DBP’s P59.3-million common shares in Philex to Two Rivers Pacific Holding Corp. for P1.2 billion.
The anti-graft office penalized them with dismissal from the service, with accessory penalties, prompting the respondents to seek redress with the appelate court.
In its November 27, 2015, the CA held that the Ombudsman’s findings are not supported by substantial evidence against the petitioners.
“It has not been sufficiently shown that petitioners had violated any law or flagrantly disregarded any rule,” it said.
“In fact, it is well-documented that petitioners had acted within the bounds allowed by their internal policies. Petitioners—from loan account officer to a member of the Board of the Directors—had acted within the powers granted to them by law.”