MANILA - The Court of Appeals (CA) has lifted the freeze order over the assets and bank accounts of former Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin and several others, including former officials of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
In a Resolution promulgated on May 7, 2013 penned by Associate Justice Leoncia Real-Dimagiba, the appellate court's 5th Division lifted the freeze order it issued last December 6.
The appellate court held that "bank accounts are property rights and prolonged freezing thereof will already amount to intrusion, even violation of such basic rights."
The CA issued a 6-month freeze order in connection with the P660 million alleged behest loans granted by the DBP to Ongpin in 2009.
Also benefitting from the lifting of the freeze order were former DBP officials led by former president Reynaldo G. David, former chair of the DBP board Patricia A. Sto. Tomas, and senior executive vice-president and chief operating officer Edgardo F. Garcia.
The same freeze order was lifted on the bank accounts of Josephine Manalo, Ma. Lourdes Torres, Miguel Luis Romero, Benedicto Ernesto Bitonio Jr., Franklin M. Velarde and Armando Samia.
The freeze order covererd around 114 bank accounts and other related web accounts which include bank deposits in the Bank of Philippine Islands, Standard Chartered Bank, Philippine National Bank, and DBP.
The 6 month freeze order was issued on the basis of the plea of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).