Solons insist something irregular happened in DBP’s handling of ABS CBN loan

Published January 19, 2021, 8:24 PM

by Ben Rosario

Lawmakers on Monday insisted that a wrongdoing has indeed been committed in the way the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) handled the  loans made by the owners of the ABS-CBN broadcast station that resulted in P1.6 billion in losses absorbed by government.

Partylist Reps. Claudine Bautista (DUMPER -PTDA) and Michael Defensor  (Anakalusugan) made this assertion as they slammed  Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte for his disparaging statements against the congressional inquiry into the questioned deal.

Right after the first hearing on the issue that was conducted by the House Committee on Good Government, Villafuerte quickly insisted that was nothing irregular about the transaction.

Bautista and Defensor quickly rejected Villafuerte’s conclusion, saying that the congressional inquiry must continue.

“Was the committee able to establish wrongdoing? Yes, and the continuing investigation will further establish this,” said Defensor.

Bautista and Defensor are among the six solons who sponsored House Resolution 1040.  They were joined by Deputy Speaker and Sagip Partylist Rep. Rodante Marcoleta,  Reps. Paulo Duterte (HNP, Davao City); Elpidio Barzaga (NUP, Cavite); Crispin Remullla (NP, Cavite) and Eric Go Yap (ACT CIS Partylist).

DIWA Partylist Rep. Michael Aglipay, good government panel chairman, said they will proceed with the inquiry, in aid of legislation, stressing that those implicated in the controversy will be accorded due process and should expect fair play.

Bautista stressed that they do not intend to stray away from the real purpose of the congressional inquiry which is to craft laws that would prevent similar irregularities from being repeated in the future.

 “The purpose of the hearing is not to implicate the Lopez family or to cast aspersions on certain figures, but to clarify if there were lapses or irregularities in the actions taken by the DBP that could have served to unduly favor the Lopez family,” she explained.

Bautista pointed out that unlike other bank loans, what prompted her and other solons to call for a congressional probe is to the fact that “people’s money” was wasted through irregular means.

She called on the DBP and other agencies involved in the transaction to fully cooperate and grant the Lower House access to records and official documents.

In an apparent jab at Villafuerte, Defensor pointed out that the committee is a “collegial body” tasked to investigate the DBP loans of the Lopez group of companies.

“There is no accuser, jury or prosecutor in this case. We work as one committee to produce the legislation or policy required to correct whatever malfeasance, misfeasance or non- feasance committed for it not to happen in the future,” Defensor stressed.