Businessman Roberto Ongpin, who served as the trade and industry minister of the Marcos regime from 1979 until the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, was No. 20 on Forbes Philippines’ Richest list in 2015 with a net worth of $ 900 million.
Ongpin is the founder and chair of property developer Alphaland Corp., which figured in last year’s Senate investigation of corruption allegations against former Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado alleged that shares worth P200 million, representing 5 percent of the deal between Alphaland and the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) to develop a one-hectare BSP property on Ayala Avenue in Makati City, were actually kickbacks for then mayor Binay, who also heads the BSP.
Ongpin chaired Philweb Corp., a provider of gaming solutions in Asia-Pacific, with businesses in the Philippines, Timor-Leste, Cambodia and Guam.
He also chairs a mining and oil exploration firm, Atok Big Wedge Co., and an upscale tropical island resort, Alphaland Balesin Island Club in Quezon province.
Global 5000 Investment, a holding firm formed in 2008, was then led by Ongpin, businessman Iñigo Zobel, and condiments king Joselito Campos—the key players behind Top Frontier Holdings Inc., a top shareholder in San Miguel Corp.
Ongpin has been accused of inside trading because he was able to acquire a block of Philex Mining Corp. shares, which he immediately turned around and sold at a huge profit to another businessman, Manuel V. Pangilinan, in 2009.
Ongpin applied for two loans from Development Bank of the Philippines to acquire 590 million shares from Philex Mining Corp., the country’s largest gold and copper mining firm. The first, for P150 million, was granted in May 2009 and the second, for P510 million, six months later.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) en banc slapped Ongpin with a P174-million fine for allegedly using insider information to profit from the trading of Philex Mining shares in 2009 but the Court of Appeals said in a ruling dated Aug. 1 that the SEC must suspend the implementation of its sanctions against Ongpin for the next 60 days.
Apart from the monetary penalty, the SEC disqualified Ongpin from holding any post in any issuer corporation. Inquirer Research
Sources: Inquirer Archives