Ongpin attends Senate inquiry into DBP loans

By Judith Balea,

Posted at Nov 14 2011 11:41 AM | Updated as of Nov 15 2011 01:03 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Businessman Roberto V. Ongpin attended a Senate inquiry for the first time on Monday to "defend" himself against allegations that the loans he obtained from state-run Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) in 2009 were behest.

In his opening statement, Ongpin reiterated that the P660-million loans he obtained from DBP were "totally regular."

Ongpin's firm Delta Ventures Resources Inc. got the loans to finance the acquisition of Philex Mining Corp. shares, which Ongpin later sold to the First Pacific Group, led by Manuel V. Pangilinan.

The Senate is also looking into possible insider trading in the Philex deal, which Ongpin has denied.

Ongpin said the allegations against him were "painful" and "frustrating."

"I am frustrated at being portrayed as a corrupt, unsavory character after a lifetime of establishing my reputation," he said.

Ongpin and 25 current and past officials of DBP are facing criminal and administrative charges in connection to the granting of the loans. The new board of DBP alleges that the loans violated banking laws and rules.