Pichay disputes corruption allegations

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 07 2011 09:29 AM | Updated as of Apr 07 2011 10:25 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Chairman Prospero A. Pichay, Jr. disputed the allegations made by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, in connection with the acquisition of shares of stocks of the troubled Express Savings Bank, Inc. (EXSBI).

Pichay denied that the bank in question is, in fact, “troubled.”

“In 2010, ang EXSBI ay tumubo ng P22 million. This year the bank is expected to make at least P30-35 million,” Pichay told radio dzMM.

Pichay said the criminal charges filed against him and 4 other members of the Board of Trustees of LWUA weren’t reviewed well by Purisima.

“Hindi pinag-aralan ng mabuti ang kaso. 'Yung tatlo sa Board of Trustees ay bago lang na-appoint. 'Yung decision namin to invest ay nangyari noong 2008 pa. Nangangahulugan lang na hindi pinapag-aralan ang inihain na kaso. That is how unprepared Purisima is as a Cabinet Secretary,” he said.

The 35-page complaint filed by Purisima named former Congressman Pichay, Renato S. Velasco, Susana Dumlao Vargas, Bonifacio Mario M. Pena, Sr. and Daniel Landingin as respondents in a case for violations of the Manual of Regulations for Banks in relation to the Central Bank Act, Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Revised Penal Code.

The complaint alleged that the participation of respondents in the takeover and acquisition of the shares of stocks of EXSBI was “in wanton violation of pertinent banking laws and rules and at a gross disadvantage to LWUA and the National Government, resulting in the dissipation and misappropriation of public funds in the amount of at least four hundred eighty million pesos (P480,000,000).”

LWUA is a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC).

As of Thursday, respondents have yet to receive a copy of the complaint. Pichay added that the complaint had no legal basis.

“Ito naman ay walang legal basis. Criminal offense ba 'yung bibili ka ng isang bangko na maliit at napapaganda mo? This is nothing but a pure political harassment on the part of Purisima,” he said.