Court convicts stockbroker in landmark case

MANILA, Philippines - The Regional Trial Court of Makati City (RTC) handed down a guilty verdict in a landmark securities case against the former president of a brokerage house.

Francis O. Borromeo, the former head of Asian Capital Equities, Inc. (ACEI), was found guilty of seven violations of Republic Act No. 8799 or the Securities Regulation Code. He was sentenced to pay P2.1 million.

Judge Selma Palacio Alaras of Branch 62 of the RTC issued the verdict on Tuesday, March 19. The decision was handed down after Borromeo withdrew his "not guilty" pleas to all seven charges.

In January 2005, cases were filed against Borromeo. The lawsuits accused him of committing felonious acts to defraud his clients. The suit also said that he sold client's shares without their consent, used dummy account for buying transactions and failed to deliver proceeds from the sale of shares.

“In the course of the presentation of evidence against the accused, Mr. Borromeo reconsidered his not guilty plea and entered a plea of guilty,” said Peter Ong, the Department of Justice Senior State Prosecutor.

Borromeo's arraignment was on August 14, 2007. He entered not guilty pleas to all seven charges. The PSE asked the public to help track down Borromeo on May 2007. He went into hiding after the issuance of arrest warrants against him.

“I understand that this is the first criminal conviction under the Securities Regulation Code, which is one of the reasons why the PSE has been following this case closely.  The outcome of this case shows that white collar crimes are punished in this country,” said Hans B. Sicat, the President and CEO of the PSE.

 “This should help give more confidence to the growing investing public.” - Rappler.com