The court convicted three officers of the closed Rural Bank of Sebaste (Antique), Inc. (RB Sebaste) on criminal charges filed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
In a decision dated 9 July 2019, the Regional Trial Court of Culasi, Antique found former RB Sebaste Chairman and President Eugene T. Estrella guilty on eight counts of violation of the General Banking Law of 2000 due to fraudulent transactions, and sentenced him to two years of imprisonment for each count.
The Municipal Trial Court of Kalibo, Aklan also convicted Eugene Estrella, as well as RB Sebaste's former Chairman and President Luis R. Estrella, Sr. and former Director Luis T. Estrella, Jr., on seven, four and two counts of falsification of public documents, respectively.
The Kalibo court also sentenced the three RB Sebaste officers to a minimum imprisonment of six months and one day to a maximum of two years, four months and one day, and ordered them to pay a fine of Php 1,000.00 for each count.
The cases stemmed from a criminal complaint filed by the BSP's Office of Special Investigation against the three RB Sebaste officers for their participation in the creation of fictitious loans aggregating to about Php 63 million as of March 2007.
The bogus loans were reflected in the rural bank's financial statements and reports which made it appear that RB Sebaste was in sound financial condition. The bank, however, was actually incurring huge operational losses and was unable to pay its liabilities as they become due in the normal course of business. The bank also had insufficient assets to meet its liabilities.
On 24 August 2007, the BSP's Monetary Board placed RB Sebaste under the receivership of the Philippine Deposit and Insurance Corporation.
The BSP continues to foster good governance among banks to promote the continued stability of the domestic banking system.
Source: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas