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CA has no jurisdiction over UCPB case–source

THE Court of Appeals cannot reverse the decision of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on the administrative case the regulator filed against United Coconut Planters Bank, a central bank official said.

The BSP is now studying the issue of jurisdiction as it prepares to file a motion for reconsideration with the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court if the appeal is denied, the official, who requested not to be named, said.

The appellate court reversed a BSP decision dismissing an administrative complaint against UCPB for violating a number of banking regulations pertaining to a P400-million real-estate overpayment case.

The case involves six bankers including the commercial lender’s former chair, Jeronimo Kilayco; former president Lorenzo Tan, who is currently Philippine National Bank president; and property developer E. Guanzon Inc. (EGI).

The Court of Appeals’s decision on October 14 granted EGI’s petition to review the BSP decision rendered in September 2003 because the central bank did not refute the allegations of EGI.

The BSP said UCPB violated the new Central Bank Act, or Republic Act 7653, particularly on Sections 36 and 37, which deals with fines and administrative sanctions that may be imposed on banks and their directors or officers for, among others, any commission or irregularities, and/or conducting business in an unsafe or unsound manner as may be determined by the Monetary Board.

The EGI was unable to service its P915-million loans and was declared in default by UCPB in mid-1998. In 1999 a memorandum of agreement between the two parties was signed, indicating a list of assets worth P904 million, primarily consisting of units at the EGI Rufino Plaza that would be foreclosed in 2000.

By Maricel E. Burgonio

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