The chairman of the House of Representatives’ committee on good government and public accountability on Wednesday apologized to President Rodrigo Duterte on the matter pertaining to its investigation of the loans of the Lopez Group of Companies with the Development Bank of the Philippines.
DIWA Rep. Michael Aglipay, the panel’s chairperson, also said his panel would pursue its inquiry on the matter.
“I would like to apologize to our beloved President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for any inconvenience that was caused to him by reason of this committee’s first hearing,” Aglipay said during the resumption of the committee hearing Wednesday.
Anakalusugan partylist Representative Mike Defensor on Wednesday grilled the Development Bank of the Philippines in relation to the soured loans of the Lopez Group of Companies.
At the resumption of the House committee on good government and public accountability hearing on the matter, Defensor asked if the loans had collaterals.
Aglipay’s statement came in response to earlier statements of the President expressing his dissatisfaction over the congressional inquiry on the matter.
“Mr. President, I am sincerely sorry and may I humbly request for your forgiveness for the inconvenience that we may have caused you by reasons of these hearings,” Aglipay said.
“It was never the intention of this Committee to stop hearing this most important matter, instead the Committee meeting was only suspended in view of the pending submission of documents by the resource persons.”
Duterte in his public address on Feb 8 said he would not allow the National Telecommunications Commission to give ABS-CB a license to operate even if the media giant was given a new broadcast franchise by Congress.
Duterte said ABS-CBN should first settle its unpaid obligations, even as the Lopez family behind the television network already said it had no outstanding loans with the government-owned DBP as the President hinted before.
The President also hinted his dissatisfaction with the congressional inquiry on the matter and said he would tap the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct the investigation on the matter.
“There so many investigations about banking except when it comes to the Lopezes; it stopped. So we had a problem there,” Duterte said.
“This came to me in an official capacity. What I can do here is pass this on to the Ombudsman. For me the Ombudsman is the most independent body that can solve this.”
Aglipay earlier vowed to conduct a more thorough investigation into the loans of the Lopez Group of Companies with the DBP.
He said his committee would come up with a report on the matter as soon as it was able to trace the paper trail of the alleged Lopez loans to the DBP “to enable the committee to come up with the proper recommendations.”
Last July, the committee on legislative franchises, together with the public accountability committee under the leadership of Alan Peter Cayetano, rejected the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corp. by adopting a resolution denying the franchise application of ABS-CBN to construct, install, establish, operate and maintain radio and broadcasting stations in the Philippines.