• BIR probes RCBC, Philrem execs

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    The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is investigating the personalities allegedly involved in the country’s biggest money laundering scandal to find out if they have any tax liabilities.

    “We are looking into any tax liabilities. The investigation is ongoing,” BIR Commissioner Kim Henares told reporters on the sidelines of the Management Association of the Philippines General Membership Meeting.

    Among the personalities being questioned in the $81-million money laundering are former Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) Jupiter Branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito and her assistant, Angela Ruth Torres, RCBC president Lorenzo Tan, Philrem Service Corp. President Salud Bautista, Kam Sin Wong alias Kim Wong, and businessman William So Go, the alleged owner of the bank account where most of the stolen money was deposited.

    “Everytime there is a controversy, whether it has a legislative investigation going on, we look into it, just to make sure we are not negligent,” Henares said.

    She called for the lifting of the bank secrecy law.

    “Far too often criminals have hidden behind bank secrecy laws. It’s time to pierce the veil, within reason and under certain circumstances. If this saga reveals anything, it is that our laws need a serious updating,” Henares said.

    “I have always said that we should lift the bank secrecy law, because we should not be complicit to allowing a crime to be committed successfully. The government’s function is to prevent crime, and if there’s a crime committed, to make sure that people are properly punished,” she added.

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