- Roberto Ongpin has resigned from being the chairman of PhilWeb Corporation
- The exit to the firm was followed by Duterte’s blast against oligarchs but no reason was mentioned behind his decision
- Instead of reacting to Duterte’s remark, Ongpin opted to face his penalty issued by the SEC
Tycoon Roberto Ongpin stepped down from his position on PhilWeb on Thursday, August 4 – one day after President Rodrigo Duterte made a speech about ‘destroying’ oligarchs, particularly Ongpin.
The incident was not mentioned on his resignation post, neither was any reason indicated for his actions which he disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Following Duterte’s remark, the online gaming corporation’s shares dropped by 36.88% - coming from P13.20 to P8.95. The decline was described by Bloomberg to be its deepest in record yet.
Although Ongpin did not react on Duterte’s claims, he considered the ruling made by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to be ‘erroneous and grossly unfair.’
The en banc decision that was brought down on July 8 states that the businessman faces fines worth P174 million on top of the order that he must resign from all publicly listed companies he hold a position in – whether as an officer or a member of the board of directors.
Ongpin was accused of insider trading back in 2009 when he bought Philex shares. The allegations reached up to 174 counts of insider trading, with the SEC ordering him to pay P1 million for each one. Furthermore, during the time the ruling was handed down, Ongpin sat as the chairman of two firms; PhilWeb Corporation and Atok Big Wedge Incorporated.
Now already making an exit from the former, Ongpin released a statement through his legal counsel Atty. Cliburn Anthony Orbe. He shared how he initially thought that the persecution has already ended after previous President Aquino turned over the government to the current administration. However, he was clearly proven to be wrong as he said, “Apparently, the remaining minions of the past administration are still determined to get me.”
In refute to SEC’s accusations against him, he quipped how ‘no evidence whatsoever’ was produced of him exhibiting insider training. Moreover, Ongpin tagged that the punishments SEC ruled on him were ‘cruel and unusual.’
Orbe also reasoned that the SEC has been bias on Ongpin’s case as they increased the original meted fine of Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) from P17.4 million – 10 times more.
The lawyer also added that six cases have been filed against Ongpin by various government agencies since Aquino’s administration but all have been dismissed or trashed.
The accusations originated from his deal with Manny V. Pangilinan.
"In this case, appellant was able to consolidate the required number of shares, supplementing his block of shares with the shares brought from the open market, sold them to the subsidiary of First Pacific at the privately agreed price of P21 per share," claimed the SEC in its en banc ruling.
In addition, the SEC noted that even though Ongpin has denied insider trading allegations, he did not rebut owning the material information.