CA clears Bobby Ongpin of insider trading raps over Philex shares

December 12, 2017 - 12:08 PM
Roberto Ongpin (Philstar file)

MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals has dismissed the administrative charges filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission against businessman Roberto Ongpin for insider trading over his purchase of Philex Mining shares in 2009, when he was a member of the firm’s board.

In July last year, the SEC found Ongpin liable for 174 counts of insider trading and fined him P174 million, or a million pesos for each count.

But Ongpin went to the appellate court, which issued a temporary restraining order and, subsequently, a writ of preliminary injunction on the SEC decision until it could resolve the matter.

In a 29-page decision dated this December 1, the CA ruling penned by Associate Justice Ma. Luisa Quijano-Padilla said “the decision dated July 8, 2016 of respondent (SEC), finding petitioner liable for committing 174 counts of insider trading under Section 27.1 of the Securities and Regulation Code is hereby reversed and set aside.”

“The administrative charge against petitioner is accordingly dismissed,” it added.

Associate Justices Samuel Gaerlan and Marie Christine Azcarraga-Jacob concurred with the decision.

The CA decision also said there was “no legal basis” for the P174-million fine, which “went beyond the confines of the law.”

It noted that, “for insider trading violations, the SRC itself clearly provided for the minimum amount of fine which is P10,000 and the maximum amount which is P1,000,000 and the penalty to be imposed could not exceed that stated in the law.”