Sandiganbayan affirms denial to junk graft case in P1.8-B gov’t guarantee

Published August 11, 2021, 12:33 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki


The Sandiganbayan has affirmed its ruling that denied the motion to dismiss the cases of three individuals who were charged with graft together with two former officials of the then Trade Investment Development Corporation (TIDCorp) in the P1.8 billion guarantee granted to a private company in 2003.

Denied was the motion for reconsideration filed by private individuals Alison Sy, Guillermo Sy, and Renato Ang — all officers and stockholders of World Granary, Inc. (WGI).

Earlier denied by the anti-graft court was the motion to dismiss filed by the three individuals and former TIDCorp, now Philippine Guarantee Corporation (PhilGuarantee), Executive Vice President Rolando C. Alonzo and Account Officer Teresita Cometa.

Only Guillermo Sy, Alison Sy, and Ang filed a motion to reconsider the earlier denial of their plea to dismiss the case.

The Sandiganbayan said: “The prosecution does not have to prove that the accused’s acts both caused undue injury and gave unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to any private party. It only has to prove at least one.”

The resolution was written by sixth division Chairperson Sarah Jane T. Fernandez and concurred in by Associate Justices Karl B. Miranda and Kevin Narce B. Vivero.

The two former TIDCorp officials and the three private individuals were charged with graft for extending the loan guarantee even if WGI was not qualified, the prosecution alleged.

With the guarantee, WGI was able to withdraw the amount as a loan from ABN-AMRO Bank with TIDCorp as guarantor.

When WGI was required to pay its first interest payment three years later from 2003, it failed to do so. Since TIDCorp was the guarantor, it was forced to pay the company’s liabilities. TIDCorp paid P1.87 billion to the bank in 2012.

TIDCorp then demanded payment from WGI in a case filed before the regional trial court (RTC) in Lucena City.

Alonzo and his group then manifested before the Sandiganbayan that TIDCorp had been paid by WGI with P996.04 million given last May as full payment. They then filed their motions to dismiss their cases.

In denying their motions to dismiss the case, the Sandiganbayan said:

“They have not cited any provision of law or rules of procedure, or any ruling of the Supreme Court authorizing the dismissal of the present case during the presentation of evidence for the defense, solely grounded on the assertion that one of the elements of the offense charged is negated, without this Court passing upon the merits of the case.”