A FORMER restaurant executive and a branch manager of Eastwest Banking Corp (EastWest Bank) are facing 175 counts of qualified theft before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office for allegedly conspiring for more than two years to supposedly steal P15.3 million from A. Taberna Foods, Inc. (“Taberna Foods”).
Represented by lawyers from the Gana-Atienza-Avisado law office, broadcaster and businessman Anthony “Tunying” Taberna, president of Taberna Foods, named former Taberna Foods Finance and Administrative Head Ernie Patrick Aquino and UP Village EastWest Bank Branch Manager Gualberto Baluyut II as respondents in the complaint-affidavit he filed last Wednesday.
Taberna recalled that Aquino proposed to the Board of Directors after assuming his position as Finance and Administrative head of the Taberna Foods to open payroll accounts at EastWest Bank and claimed that he “personally knew the branch manager of UP Village Branch (Baluyot).”
“This carefully planned and deliberately executed scheme to steal from the company coffers lasted for more than two years. Respondents, for their own personal gain, stole a total amount of Fifteen Million Three Hundred Eighty-One Thousand Six Hundred Forty-Four and [Nine Centavos] (P15, 381,644.09), constituting one hundred seventy-five (175) counts of Qualified Theft under Article 310 of the Revised Penal Code,” Taberna, a former ABS-CBN television and radio host whose program Dos for Dos with fellow broadcaster Gerry Baja is now aired over dzRH, alleged in his complaint.
Taberna lamented that Aquino “gravely abused the trust and confidence reposed upon him by illegally transferring corporate funds to his personal accounts through the e-Credit Facility.”
“He gravely abused the trust and confidence reposed upon him by opening several bank accounts without the knowledge or consent of Taberna Foods. He connived with branch manager Baluyut who allowed him to open several accounts in behalf of Taberna Foods without presenting any Secretary’s Certificate or Board Resolution showing his authority to represent the company,” said Taberna.
As he had sole access to these accounts, the complainant said Aquino was able to facilitate numerous unauthorized transfers from these company bank accounts to his personal accounts from August 2018 to November 2020.
“These led to the closure of five accounts for having been overdrawn. Notwithstanding the closure of these accounts, respondent Baluyot never informed Taberna Foods through its authorized representatives and instead concealed the same from the company,” Taberna said.
“To ensure the commission of the crime and avoid discovery, Aquino deceived the Board of Directors of the company by presenting bank statements of Taberna Foods reflecting millions of pesos to make it appear that the company still had sufficient funds. Meanwhile, branch manager Baluyut concealed the unusual and suspicious same day transfers from the company which resulted to the closure of several accounts after being overdrawn,” Taberna said.