Could Umali, Tupas, ‘small lady’, and Rappler.com be all chargeable for serious violation of Philippine bank secrecy laws?

A big gray area now looms over the Senate impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona after the questioning yesterday (the 8th of Feb) of prosecution witness Pascual Garcia III who is president of Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) raised the ugly heads of the Philippines’ bank secrecy laws further. During questioning conducted by private prosecutor Demetrio Custodio, Garcia revealed details of Corona’s five peso accounts with PSBank but declined to present (and presumably refrained from bringing with him) documents associated with five dollar accounts allegedly kept by Corona with the bank. The five dollar accounts along with the five peso accounts were within the scope of a controversial subpoena to PSBank issued by the impeachment court.

The subpoena of the PSBank accounts traces its roots to an “anonymous source” described by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Rey Umali as a “small lady” who handed to him an envelope allegedly containing Corona’s bank documents. The revelation made by former lead prosecutor Niel Tupas Jr the previous day (the 7th Feb) highlighted yet another instance of the prosecution team pre-empting any authorisation from the Senate impeachment court to mount such actions.

Section 8 of Republic Act 6426 (“Foreign Currency Deposit Act of the Philippines”) states that foreign currency accounts are “absolutely confidential”…

Section 8. Secrecy of foreign currency deposits. All foreign currency deposits authorized under this Act, as amended by PD No. 1035, as well as foreign currency deposits authorized under PD No. 1034, are hereby declared as and considered of an absolutely confidential nature and, except upon the written permission of the depositor, in no instance shall foreign currency deposits be examined, inquired or looked into by any person, government official, bureau or office whether judicial or administrative or legislative, or any other entity whether public or private; Provided, however, That said foreign currency deposits shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative body whatsoever. (As amended by PD No. 1035, and further amended by PD No. 1246, prom. Nov. 21, 1977.)

Given the formidable measures in place that make access to information on a foreign currency account in the Philippines extremely difficult, it seems that the prosecution team and in particular Umali and the “small lady” he implicates can be charged for serious offenses on the basis of this law.

Interestingly, “social news network” Rappler.com “online reporter” Magtanggol de la Cruz published the balance of one of those foreign currency deposits in an article that bears the ironic title ‘Secrecy in foreign currency deposits‘ dated the 8th of Feb…

The latest one that has grabbed my attention has to do with whether or not a Philippine bank can be compelled via a subpoena to disclose information relating to a foreign currency bank deposit of its depositor, in this case, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The scuttlebutt, of course, is that Justice Corona has a US$[bleep] deposit held by the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) and that the prosecutors even know its account number.

…refering to a previous article dated the 4th of Feb where “online reporter” Carmela Fonbuena reveals not only that dollar amount but the account number where it is deposited as well…

The $[bleep] deposited in account number [bleep] is supposedly just one of 14 accounts that the Chief Justice and his wife Cristina individually and jointly own with daughter Carla Castillo and her husband Constantino III. Prosecution wants the branch manager of PSBank Katipunan branch to appear before the court and bring the bank documents on February 7, Tuesday.

These potential criminal acts will surely reflect upon the integrity of the Senate impeachment trial court which, it can be argued, became party to violations of bank secrecy laws when it allowed admission of evidence obtained by unlawful means.

Perhaps it is high time that the Supreme Court of the Philippines gets involved before things get out of hand.

Abangan ang susunod na kabanata…

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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139 Comments on "Could Umali, Tupas, ‘small lady’, and Rappler.com be all chargeable for serious violation of Philippine bank secrecy laws?"

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ahehe
Guest

What about the picture taking of Corona’s documents done on LIVE TV?

ici
Guest
yes…more than the corona accounts and its balances (which isn’t really that much compared to, oh let’s say, any one of the prosecutors)…how they obtained these docs should be questioned. if it’s true that bank employees – out of patriotism said umali – shared them…then everything’s fair game?! as an ordinary citizen, i was so disturbed that i had to ask the bank manager i was talking to yesterday about this. i mean, i’ve been hearing things like kidnappers choosing their victims based on tips given by bank employees…so this is true then? i’m seriously considering pulling out the bulk… Read more »
koi
Guest
as much as the senate is trying to be “fair”, their hands are tied. i am still wondering why no one is charged for contempt on the prosecution’s side based on their antics and demeanor on court. Rappler has no integrity, their mood meter sucks in which is you analyze the percentage of how moods are voted, you can say that only a dismal amount really votes on it, try hard as they may to agitate people against corona with their biased article. I try to watch the impeachment with a fair mind, but it is very easy to see… Read more »
twoface
Guest

I know it’s against the law but don’t you have that feeling of wanting to see those bank accounts to know how much wealth Corona has? To just know the truth? If CJ Corona has nothing to hide, he would just grant permission to examine his accounts. But you won’t hear that coming from him. He really is very suspicious. In his peso accounts alone, he has millions.

Belinda Madrid
Guest
I am sure many will disagree with me but what I am seeing in the impeachment trial particularly today as they voted to allow banks to provide details on CJ Corona’s accounts made me sad. On the basis of an envelope handed by an anonymous “small lady” who I am realizing is not even a bank employee and does not have the guts to testify before the courts, the rights of an individual is being trampled over and his life and that of his family is destroyed. Nobody deserves to be destroyed publicly like this. I have been a banker… Read more »
jay
Guest

lapdog drilon, noddy recto and big ear guingona are a disgrace to the law, the senate and the country.
traitors pure and simple who sell their vote for money. trailer trash and it shows.
they really are clowns and enrile should send tge littke boys to stand in the corner

SK
Guest

hay naku the point of the prosecution to dig deep into cj bank account is to make a presscon and say “O, sabi sa inyo madaming ill gotten wealth yan eh…” walang kadala dala, walang pinagkatandaan eh ang tatanda naman na nila…sana gawin na lang nila ang trabaho nila bilang mga hinalal ng taong bayan. naisip ko tuloy malamang nandaya tong mga to sa last election kaya walang utang na loob sa mga mamamayan…sorry to wish them ill pero sana pag lumindol ulet ng malakas sila na lang ang matabunan o kaya lamunin ng lupa! MAGTRABAHO NAMAN KAYO!

karim
Guest

i met sen. drilon during edsa dos, at mantrade mrt station north edsa. he is nice person and seemed a man of principle so i voted for him for senator.

now, i swear i will no longer vote this man. he is not a senator of the people, he is a senator of aquino and cojuangco. i regret voting him, he is color-blinded puppy of vengeance…he can never unite the people, i swear you will lose senatorial seat, i will earnestly pray for it…

ahehe
Guest

Pekeng documents. Correct account details. Hmmmmm. Explain explain.

roi
Guest

If Congress thinks that the Bank Secrecy Law on FOREX Deposits could be used as a means by crooks to hide ill-gotten wealth, then why did they pass it in the first place?????

In the Philippines, legislators are the first law violators.

jay
Guest

frank drilon’s performance gives p-noy a bigger orgasm than even kinky korean grace lee can manage

SK
Guest

Look what this impeachment circus is leading our country to…I can already imagine our economy nose diving to zero or worse baka mag negative pa in the coming months or years…tsk, tsk, tsk…

SK
Guest

SUPPORT CJ CORONA!!! BAWIIN ANG KALAYAAN MULA SA MAPAGLINLANG NA TAGA-MALACANANG!!!

ChinoF
Member

Willingness to reveal one’s own bank accounts is not really a sign of good intentions or honesty. On one hand, it can be seen a sign of arrogance, or on the other hand, it can be stupidity.

Phil Manila
Guest

I think the subpoenaed account numbers could be considered as ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’ (evidence acquired illegally).

More so if it came from a ‘duenda’ (small lady). Cheers!

Hyden Toro
Guest
We have to uphold the Bank Secrecy Law; to prevent Bank Runs in our Banking system…the prosecutors want to destroy, the Financial system of the country , that is now working…A Bank run is more dangerous, than a Tsunami…and the Aquino- Cojuangco families, are not aware of this… If a “Small Lady”, whom I suspect, as a ExtraTerrestrial Reticulean, comes to you, with documents of Corona’ “Bank Accounts. Will you trust that it is an authentic one? The “Small Lady” cannot be subjected to come to the Senate, to testify…She and her crew, already Zoomed, with their StarShip…to the Constellation… Read more »
twoface
Guest
I’m liking this very much. I especially like it when some of the people here resort to insults. Whatever. Recto said, if you are corrupt, get a dollar account. That way, nobody can touch it. Ahhh, Corona is so smart. I love it. Why would he have, not one but five dollar accounts anyway? He is in the Philippines. He is paid in peso. Cayetano, I think, requested the defense panel to consult Corona to grant permission to examine his accounts. I’m so excited by Corona’s response. See, nobody broke the bank secrecy law. Why look like an idiot and… Read more »
twoface
Guest
@Daido Katsumi —-Just like the prosecution, you’re becoming idiotic each and every day.—-> I’ve got one word for you – Whatever. @Domingo Then, I suggest you file a complaint against Tupas. I’ll give you a tip on what to do first. Get a public lawyer or a private lawyer like Jimeno who can give you a pro bono. Corona took the job. Period. He always has options. He can refuse if he feels like it’s too much responsibility for him. It’s not just a mere penthouse, mind you. I’m sorry that he feels humiliated but like I said, that’s part… Read more »
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