MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has subpoenaed tycoon and former trade and industry minister Roberto "Bobby" Ongpin for the preliminary investigation into charges of serious illegal detention, grave coercion, and robbery slapped against him by an employee.
The subpoena, dated May 26, 2014, directed Ongpin and his co-respondents to appear before Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera in a hearing set on June 9, at 2 p.m., on the complaint of Eduveges Batalan.
"Under and by virtue of the authority vested in me by law, you are hereby summoned to appear... in connection with the preliminary investigation of the above-entitled case to be conducted by the undersigned and to submit your counter-affidavit and those of your witnesses and other supporting documents, if any, in your defense."
"You are hereby warned that failure on your part to comply with this subpoena shall be considered as a waiver to present your defense/s in this preliminary investigation and the case shall be considered submitted for resolution based on complainant's evidence only," the subpoena read.
Batalan claimed he was held against his will by Ongpin's men, upon the tycoon's alleged orders, from Feb 4 to 7 of this year on suspicion that he stole from the company. Batalan, who works for Philweb Corporation, claimed he was illegally detained in Balesin Island Resort and three other locations.
Ongpin, who is ranked 14th in the Forbes list of richest Filipinos with a net worth of $1.3 billion, has denied the allegations.
In a statement released by his lawyer, Rodolfo Ponferrada, Ongpin's camp called the charges "false and erroneous," and "nothing but contrived accusations of a disgruntled employee."
Ongpin, who worked in the cabinet of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was earlier charged by the Office of the Ombudsman for graft and irregular banking practices as the alleged beneficiary of over P600 million in behest loans under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the acquisition of shares of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) in Philex Mining, the biggest mining firm in the country today where he had a major stake in.