A FORMER OWNER of a now-defunct Laguna rural bank has been convicted for estafa due to falsification of public documents and was sentenced to imprisonment and subject to fines.

In a statement on Thursday, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Sta. Cruz Laguna dated June 30 found Rural Bank of Victoria (Laguna), Inc. (RB Victoria) owner Gregorio S. Aguado guilty of 12 counts of estafa through falsification of public documents as defined under the Revised Penal Code.

“The cases arose from a criminal complaint filed in 2002 by BSP before the Department of Justice against [Mr.] Aguado for causing the falsification of the loan and related documents of fictitious borrowers of RB Victoria, and rediscounting the same fraudulent loans with the BSP,” it said.

Republic Act No. 7653 or the New Central Bank Act allows the BSP to liquify banks’ loan portfolio through the rediscounting facility.

Given the findings, the court sentenced Mr. Aguado to imprisonment of two to six years for each count of estafa, to be served successively.

Mr. Aguado has also been ordered to pay P3.072 million in compensation to the BSP with interest of six percent per year until the amount has been fully paid from the time the cases were filed in May 2004.

Mr. Aguado was also the owner of three other banks that have closed shop including Countryside Rural Bank (Real, Quezon), Inc., Rural Bank of Agdangan (Quezon), Inc., and Rural Bank of San Narciso (Quezon), Inc.

“Said three banks are all closed and placed under receivership of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp.,” the BSP said. — L.W.T. Noble