• Bank accounts confidential under Bank Secrecy Law

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    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I want to file a complaint against Bodoy for defrauding me in the amount of P300,000.00. Bodoy made me believed that he was the owner of a piece of land in Pateros town (Metro Manila), and he presented to me a land title in his name. I deposited the amount in the bank account of Bodoy. Then, I discovered that the property is owned by somebody else when I verified the title of Bodoy with the Register of Deeds. I immediately demanded from him the amount I paid to him but he failed to give it back. I filed a complaint against Bodoy before barangay (village) authorities but nothing happened; hence, a certificate to file action was issued. How can I prove my complaint against Bodoy? Can I obtain a bank statement from his bank to support my allegation?
    Bartolome

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    Dear Bartolome,
    Based on the facts stated in your letter, Bodoy can be charged for a criminal case for Other Forms of Swindling under No. 1, Article 316 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines. This provision of law specifically states that “any person who, pretending to be the owner of any real property, shall convey, sell, encumber or mortgage the same shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods and a fine of not less than the value of the damage caused and not more than three times such value.”

    In your situation at present, you have to prove swindling by means of any other evidence aside from the bank statement, since you cannot obtain that document from the bank or even inquire into the account of Bodoy because of the prohibition provided by the Bank Secrecy Law (Republic Act 1405). Section 2 of this law specifically states that “all deposits of whatever nature with banks or banking institutions in the Philippines including investments in bonds issued by the Government of the Philippines, its political subdivisions and its instrumentalities, are hereby considered as of absolutely confidential nature and may not be examined, inquired or looked into by any person, government official, bureau or office, except upon written permission of the depositor, or in cases of impeachment, or upon order of competent court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials, or in cases where the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of the litigation.”

    In your case, you can prove that you deposited the amount of three hundred thousand pesos (P300,000.00) in the account of Bodoy by presenting the deposit slip that you filled out when you deposited the same. Such deposit slip is a proof that, indeed, you deposited money to Bodoy’s account.

    We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

    Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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