Lipa City courts convict ex-Synergy Bank officers

THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Tuesday that Lipa City courts convicted former officers of the closed Synergy Rural Bank Inc. (Synergy Bank) for violating banking laws.

In a statement, the Central Bank said that the Regional Trial Court-Lipa City (RTC-Lipa City) and Municipal Trial Court in Cities-Lipa City (MTCC-Lipa City) sentenced said officials on five counts of violation of the General Banking Law of 2000 in relation to the New Central Bank Act, as amended; and one count of violation of the Revised Penal Code.

The decision was based on the charges filed by the BSP.

RTC-Lipa City, based on the decision dated September 7, ordered former president and chairman of Synergy Bank Herman S. Villalobos to pay a total fine of P200,000. The bank’s former compliance officer Danilo D. Tobias was charged with a P150,000 penalty, according to the BSP.

MTCC-Lipa City, meanwhile, sentenced Villalobos to 1-year imprisonment for one case, and to a minimum imprisonment of six months to a maximum of two years and four months for another case. In addition, he was instructed to pay a fine of P10,000.

“The criminal cases stemmed from a directors, officers, stockholders and related interests (Dosri) loan granted to Tobias in violation of approval, reportorial and ceiling requirements for Dosri loans provided under the law, as well as a fictitious loan application, which the BSP discovered during its investigation of the bank’s transactions,” the BSP said.

The loans reached P2.51 million.

The Central Bank said it is “committed to ensure banks’ compliance with the law while maintaining the soundness of the financial system and protecting public interest through the implementation of good governance practices among its supervised financial institutions.”

Recently, the BSP reported that a former bookkeeper of the now closed Rural Bank of Bayawan (Negros Oriental) Inc. was convicted for violating the General Banking Law of 2000 and the Revised Penal Code.

The former bookkeeper, Mary Grace M. Tito, participated in the processing, approval and grant of ten fictitious loans amounting to P1.705 million, the BSP said.

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