BSP assures execs facing graft raps before Ombudsman will answer in proper forum

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2021   •   229

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Thursday assured that its officials who are facing graft complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman will respond in an appropriate forum.

The complaint, filed by Ricardo Fulgencio IV of Stop Corruption Organization of the Philippines, accused BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno and officials of central bank’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of granting P1.75-billion contract to Allcard International sans public bidding for the implementation of the national identification system.

Aside from Diokno, Prudence Angelita Kasala, Rogel Joseph del Rosario, Carl Cesar Bibat, Marianne Santos, Salvador del Mundo, and Giovanni Israel Joson were also named as respondents to the complaint.

“As regards the complaint filed with the Ombudsman relative to the procurement for the printing of cards for the National ID System, rest assured that the BSP officials concerned will respond in the proper forum once required in accordance with applicable rules,” the BSP said in a statement.

Fulgencio said the bidding process for equipment and materials for the Philippine Identification cards was flawed because the BAC of the BSP Security Plant Complex, which is in charge of procuring materials for the cards, required all bidders to procure raw materials, such as diffractive optically variable image device (DOVID) and polycarbonate sheets, from OVD Kinegram.

The complainant said this requirement is prohibited by procurement laws as it shows a specific reference to a brand name.

“[The] respondents’ act of requiring the bidders to procure their raw materials from OVD Kinegram AG effectively gave the latter private party, unwarranted benefits. The respondents’ preference to Kinegram deprived other DOVID suppliers of the opportunity to bid for the project and robbed the government of getting the most advantageous terms for the supply of such raw materials,” the complaint read.

“Clearly, this is a corrupt practice. Henceforth, it is respectfully prayed before this Honorable Office that after the requisite preliminary investigation, criminal information against the herein respondents be filed before the Sandiganbayan,” it added.

Despite the complaint, the BSP said that it supports the rollout of the National ID as it is key to wider financial inclusion that promotes shared economic growth and the financial wellbeing of Filipinos.

BSP urged to probe banks allegedly violating debt moratorium

Robie de Guzman   •   February 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday called on the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to investigate “erring” banks and ensure compliance with the provisions under two laws passed to combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gatchalian made the call as he expressed concern over the reported non-compliance of some banks on the debt moratorium.

He pointed out that as the country’s regulator of the banking industry, the BSP is mandated to ensure that banks and credit card issuers strictly follow the laws and protect the consumers’ interests as provided for in the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1) and the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).

The senator said the BSP should exercise its supervisory and regulatory powers over these erring banks by enforcing the provisions of the Bayanihan Laws as he noted the mounting complaints on consumer credit card received by the central bank.

“A kid gloves treatment will do no good at this time. Everyone is having a hard time financially and they should do their share as dictated upon by the law,” he said in a statement.

Last January 14, the BSP issued a circular letter ordering all banks to strictly comply with the prevailing regulations on credit cards and financial consumer protection as well as those under the Bayanihan laws.

Section 4 of the Bayanihan 2 requires banks to implement a non-extendible mandatory one-time 60-day grace period to all loans of individuals and entities that are existing, current and outstanding falling due on or before December 31, 2020.

“We anticipated that some loans would accrue interests because the party concerned has defaulted and that’s precisely the reason why we introduced these provisions in the laws, to protect the consumers amid the global health pandemic,” Gatchalian said.

“Huwag naman po sana tayong maging ganid para lang lumaki ang kita o tubo sa mga pinautang. Hindi tama na manantala sa mga taong gipit na lalo na kung nakasaad na ito sa batas. Dapat pairalin natin ang bayanihan sa gitna ng pandemya,” he added.

He further appealed to banks to instead help in the government’s efforts to recover from the economic slump amid the pandemic.

BSP Governor Ben Diokno discharged from hospital

Robie de Guzman   •   January 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno has been discharged from the hospital after undergoing a medical procedure, the central bank said.

In a statement on Wednesday, the BSP said Diokno’s discharge was “earlier than expected,” adding that he is steadily recovering from the surgery.

“The Governor is now recuperating at home and may preside over the Monetary Board meeting as early as next week,” the central bank said.

The BSP earlier said Diokno underwent a medical procedure on Sunday, January 17 to address a blood clot caused by a minor head accident.

While he is on medical leave, he has designated Deputy Governor Francisco Dakila as BSP’s officer-in-charge.

BSP chief Diokno on medical leave after ‘minor’ head injury, assigns Dakila as OIC

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno has designated Deputy Governor Francisco Dakila Jr. as the officer-in-charge of the central bank while he is on medical leave.

In a statement, the BSP said Diokno underwent a medical procedure on Sunday, January 17 to address a blood clot caused by a minor head accident.

“The procedure went well and I’m now on my way to recovery. Meanwhile, I’m designating Francis Dakila as OIC BSP Governor while I’m recuperating,” Diokno was quoted as saying in his message to the Monetary Board and BSP staff.

Citing his medical report, the central bank said the prognosis for Diokno’s complete recovery is “very good” as he was awake and conversant an hour after the procedure.

He is expected to be discharged from the hospital in four to five days and is anticipated to return to work subsequently, the BSP added.

“The BSP remains focused in promoting price stability, financial system stability and an efficient payment system,” the central bank said.

Diokno was appointed BSP Governor in March 2019 to replace the late Nestor Espenilla Jr. who passed away in February 2019 after his battle with cancer.

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