The Office of the Ombudsman is filing graft and corruption charges against two dozen individuals, including three billionaires and two incumbent government executives, for the anomalous sale of Meralco shares involving the Social Security System (SSS) and Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) to a private company seven years ago.
In a statement, the Ombudsman Field Investigation Office (FIO) found SSS officials liable for graft for approving the block sale of its Meralco shares worth P5.699 billion to Global 5000 with a down payment of only P1.133 billion.
The Commission on Audit said the deal was disadvantageous to the government because the SSS in effect gave a P4.535 billion loan to Global 5000 which only has an initial paid-up capital of only P62.5million.
“The deal was approved by SSS officials despite Global’s lack of financial capacity and track record as the firm was established only one year prior to the sale.Documents show that SSS executives waived voting rights to Global despite the lack of full payment and actual transfer of ownership,” said the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman said it would also investigate the Landbank officials who approved the sale of its Meralco shares worth P4.193 billion to Global 5000.
“The Landbank gave unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to Global, a firm with doubtful financial capacity and no track record to undertake the sale. It was found that LBP executives entered into a Stock Purchase Agreement without any negotiations and was undertaken in a matter of ten days,” said the Ombudsman.
The individuals charged were:
– former Chairman Thelmo Cunanan
– former Vice-Chairman Romulo Neri
– Marianita Mendoza
– Donald Dee
– Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr.
– Fe Tibayan Palileo
– Victorino Balais
– Sonny Matula
Gilda Pico (current Landbank president)
Cyril Del Callar
Global 5000 owners
– billionaire Iñigo Zobel
– former Marcos crony Roberto Ongpin
– billionaire Joselito Campos, Jr.
– Consuelo Eden Lagao
– Rhodel Gandingco.
Pico, Vergara and Halog are also facing administrative charges for Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.
Correction: An earlier version of this report erroneously identified Robert Vergara as current head of GSIS.
The Robert Vergara to be charged by the Ombudsman is an official of Landbank and is just a namesake of the GSIS chief. We regret the error.