Senator-elect Sherwin Gatchalian has denied involvement in the allegedly anomalous acquisition by a government agency of a troubled local thrift bank owned by his family and was confident that the charges against him would be dismissed.
Gatchalian was reacting to a statement from the Office of the Ombudsman that he and 20 others were facing graft charges before the Sandiganbayan for the P780-million purchase of the Express Savings Bank, Inc. (ESBI) by the Local Water Utilities Authority (LWUA) in 2009.
Quoted on radio on Wednesday, June 1, Gatchalian said he explained that he only has 14 shares with ESBI worth P2,500 since each share was worth P187.57.
The outgoing Valenzuela City congressman said he did not understand why he was charged by the Ombudsman with graft even if he did not have any participation in the management and daily operations of ESBI. He added that he had nothing to do with the transactions leading to the closeout of ESBI by the LWUA.
Gatchalian said he was confident that the cases filed against him would be dismissed because the truth was on his side.
He said he would face the charges against him because he said he had nothing to hide as mayor and as congressman, and that his name has never been linked to graft and corruption.
Aside from Gatchalian, also facing charges are officials from LWUA, led by Prospero Pichay Jr.; Wellex Group Inc. (WGI); Forum Pacific Inc. (FPI) and ESBI.
Gatchalian and ESBI officials were allegedly paid some P80 million after the purchase of the Laguna-based thrift bank, according to reports.