TYCOON Roberto Ongpin resigned as chairman and director of listed online gaming firm PhilWeb Corp. on Thursday, a day after he was singled out by President Rodrigo Duterte as one of many “oligarchs” who have benefited from government connections.
“I hereby tender my resignation, with immediate effect, as Chairman and Director of PhilWeb Corporation and all of its subsidiaries,” his resignation letter read.
“To focus on the real estate projects of Alphaland Corp.,” Ongpin’s property firm, was stated as the reason for the resignation.
As of this writing, Ongpin has yet to resign from his chairmanship in listed mining firm Atok-Big Wedge Co. Inc.
PhilWeb Corp. (WEB), which opened at P13.20 apiece in the morning, suffered a 36.88-percent or P5.23 drop in its share price on Thursday, to close at P8.95 per share.
Alexander Tiu, senior equity analyst at AB Capital Securities Inc., attributed the sharp drop in PhilWeb’s share price to the President’s statements.
In Malacañang on Wednesday evening, Duterte publicly threatened to “destroy” Ongpin and other oligarchs “embedded in the government.”
“These are the guys who sit in their planes, in their mansions, and money comes in … I said, ‘destroy,’” he said.
“I’ll give you an example, publicly, Ongpin, Roberto,” Duterte said.
He described Ongpin as a businessman close to people in power, and implied that the businessman had used his political influence to strengthen his businesses.
Duterte noted that Ongpin, a former chairman of audit firm SGV & Co., was trade minister during the Marcos dictatorship and retained his influence in succeeding administrations.
PhilWeb operates a network of 268 Pagcor e-Games cafes with a total of 8,839 gaming terminals nationwide.
The e-Games cafes are in Metro Manila, Quezon, Batangas and the Balesin Island resort owned by Ongpin.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has also sanctioned Ongpin for 174 counts of insider trading involving Philex Mining shares in 2009.
On August 1, however, Ongpin secured a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the SEC’s ruling barring him from holding posts in listed companies and fining him P174 million.
The SEC on Thursday vowed to strongly oppose an injunction on the sanctions that was sought by Ongpin before the Court of Appeals (CA).
The TRO is only effective for a period of 20 days. Ongpin applied for a writ of injunction before the CA, to indefinitely prevent the imposition of sanctions.
“The SEC shall strongly oppose Ongpin’s injunction petition and will see to it that the Office of the Solicitor General representing the SEC will be provided with all the legal and technical assistance in the interpretation and application of securities law,” the agency’s chairperson, Teresita Herbosa, said.