House panel probes DBP condonation of Lopez family loans

Published January 18, 2021, 12:12 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability started investigating Monday the alleged loan condonation or write-off by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) in favor of companies controlled by or affiliated with the Lopez family. 

(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Panel chair DIWA party-list Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay assured the public Monday that his panel will not in any way engage in any politicking in the investigation.

“Let me emphasize that there shall be absolutely no politicking in this committee. It is the Speaker’s directive for this committee to independently and strictly adhere to its mandate to investigate all matters relating to malfeasance, misfeasance committed by public officials,” he said in his opening speech at the panel’s first hearing on House Resolution No. 1040, filed in July last year by seven lawmakers, led by DUMPTER PTDA party-list Rep. Claudine Diana Bautista, seeking to investigate the loan write-off.

He said “no stones will be left unturned” in the investigation of erring government officials. 

Aglipay said that while HR No. 1040 was filed during the franchise hearings of the ABS-CBN, their investigation is aimed at investigating and reviewing the policies and guidelines of the DBP to ensure that their acts are sanctioned by law. 

“This is not the continuation of ABS-CBN franchise hearings. This is an investigation and review of the policies and guidelines of the DBP,” he said. 

In her sponsorship speech, Bautista also clarified that the probe is a “non-politics” hearing aimed at reviewing the policies of the DBP.

She noted that based on the submissions of ABS-CBN in the joint committee hearing of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises and Good Government and Public Accountability, the House of Representatives found out that Benpres Holdings Corp., now called Lopez Holding Corp., which was given rights over considerable number of ABS-CBN Corp. shares, benefited from a large condonation or write-off from the DBP, along with other companies controlled by or affiliated with the Lopez family. 

“The DBP loans condoned or written off by DBP may exceed the amount of P1.6 billion, which others should have accrued to the Philippine government,” Bautista said.

“The details of this condonation or write-off are as yet unknown to the public at large, despite the fact that this particular transaction could have cost the Filipino people P1.6 billion which could have been used for various programs that would provide much needed help to the general public and the country in the mist of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to Bautista, the impact of the loss of P1.6 billion is further compounded by the urgent need of funding for government programs to address the ongoing global pandemic. 

 
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