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Senator Gatchalian confident graft charges over ESBI sale to LWUA will be dismissed

Photo by Clar Tanganco

Senator-elect Win Gatchalian today deplored the decision of the Ombudsman’s panel of investigators to include him and his family among those to be charged for the sale of the Express Savings Bank, Inc. (ESBI) to the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) seven years ago.

Gatchalian, a former 3-term mayor of Valenzuela City, pointed out that he only has 14 shares of ESBI worth a measly P2,500 or P178.57 per share.

“These 14 shares, which is equivalent to 0.00001886042 percent of the total shareholdings sold, are mere qualifying shares in the bank. Yet, I am being charged for receiving an unwarranted benefit of P2,500,” said Gatchalian, who clarified that he never took part in the management and day-to-day operations of ESBI or even in the talks for its sale to LWUA.

“And for the amount of P2,500, the Ombudsman is trying to portray me as a crook and part of the conspiracy to defraud the government from the sale of ESBI.”

Gatchalian remains confident that the graft charges being leveled against him by the Ombudsman will be dismissed because the truth is on his side.

“We will face this baseless case head-on because we have nothing to hide. I have never been charged for graft and corruption as proven by my almost 15 years of public service, marked by transparency and good governance. My name and reputation have never been tarnished by any acts of graft and corruption. The truth will eventually come out and redeem my good name,” concluded Gatchalian.

Gatchalian’s leadership as mayor led the city to receive from the Department of Interior and Local Government the “Seal of Good Housekeeping in 2012”, in recognition of the city government’s efforts in local legislation, development planning, resource generation, resource allocation and utilization, customer service, human resource management and development, and good governance.

Under his watch, Valenzuela City also received for its 3S (Simple, Speed, and Service) Plus Program the “2012 Galing Pook Award for Innovations and Excellence in Local Governance”. Valenzuela City again received the “Galing Pook Award” last year for its Education 360 Investment Program.

Gatchalian’s brand of good governance, which emphasized honesty and integrity, led Valenzuela City into being recognized as the “Most Business-Friendly Local Government Unit by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry” in 2012, 2014, and 2015. The city is now included in the award’s Hall of Fame.