Depositors to file estafa case vs Export Bank execs

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 02 2012 02:38 PM | Updated as of May 03 2012 03:57 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Several depositors of the closed Export and Industry Bank (EIB) are planning to file charges of syndicated estafa against bank officials.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, who claims to represent 15 disgruntled depositors of EIB, said his clients told him that bank managers prevented them from withdrawing their money. The managers reportedly assured them their money would be safe because BDO Unibank would be buying the bank.

Topacio is also calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the bank's closure.

BDO had been negotiating to purchase Export Bank as early as 2009, but talks collapsed last year.

One depositor, who has more than P30 million in deposits, claimed she repeatedly asked the branch manager if she can withdraw her money a few weeks before the bank's closure last Friday.

But the bank manager reportedly discouraged her from taking out her money, with the assurance that BDO is already going to rescue Export bank.

Hundreds of EIB depositors trooped to the Makati Coliseum on Wednesday to attend the Depositors' Forum organized by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC). Most of the depositors were at a loss and still in shock that their deposits were trapped in the closed bank.

Last Monday, the PDIC announced that deposits of P10,000 and below will be returned starting end of May while insurance claims for those up to half a million pesos worth of deposits will be processed by end june.

The PDIC clarified that proceeds from the sale of the bank's assets, in case liquidation pushes through, will be pro-rated depending on the amount of deposits. Ordinary deposits are the least priority in the division of proceeds.

The PDIC also said the bank's tax obligations will take priority before paying out the depositors.