SENATOR Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada’s hidden bank deposits are 800 percent bigger than what he declared in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), according to a report by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
The report compared Estrada’s declared cash on hand/in bank with the cash balance in several bank accounts which he allegedly did not declare.
This came to light as the Sandi¬gan¬bayan’s Fifth Division continued hearing Estrada’s bail petition in a P183-million plunder case filed against him in connection with the pork barrel scam on Tuesday.
“The FCDU [foreign currency deposit unit](dollar) time deposits in Chinabank are also not included. Said time deposit was placed in September 2008 and was rolled over several times until it was closed in May 2010 with closure amount of $289,089.48 or P13.428 million,” the AMLC said in its report.
It added that Estrada did not declare nine other bank accounts. Had the Chinabank dollar time deposit been included in the total cash balance of these accounts, the balances for year-end 2008 and 2009 would have been higher by some P13 million.
Based on Estrada’s SALN as of Dec. 31, 2008, his cash on hand/in bank was P5.237 million while the cash balance for the nine bank accounts, AMLC said, was P36.013 million.
As of Dec. 31, 2009, cash on hand/in bank as per Estrada’s SALN was P5.613 million while the nine bank accounts had P39.285 million, according to AMLC’s computation. If the dollar account was included, the amount would have increased to P52.285 million, it said.
“Consequently, the rate of under-declaration of Cash in SALN will also increase to P835.9 percent and P831.5 percent for the years 2008 and 2009, respectively. Said dollar time deposit has not been declared as investment by Senator Estrada in the investment item in the SALN either in 2008 or 2009,” the AMLC said.
The state financial intelligence unit’s report was the result of its inquiry into bank transactions related to Estrada’s alleged involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.
Prosecutors raised the matter during arguments with the defense, which objected to the presentation of Manuel Yap as witness. Yap is the Branch Manager of Chinabank in Legaspi Village where Estrada opened a bank account in September 2008.
Defense lawyer Alejandre Due¬ñas 2nd questioned the relevance of the bank account and argued that it “was mentioned only in the discussion of AMLC pertaining to the issue of the SALN” and not the plunder charge.
But Prosecutor Ma. Christina Marallag-Batacan argued that the bank account was among the accounts “not declared by Sen. Estrada in his SALN,” and pointed out that the charge was for alleged accumulation of ill-gotten wealth.
Yap was eventually allowed to testify.
Estrada’s camp did not cross-examine the witness but maintained their objection, adding that the senator was not waiving his right to bank secrecy.
Estrada described Yap’s testimony as “irrelevant, impertinent, and immaterial in this case” in an interview after the hearing.
Lawyers of Janet-Lim Napoles, who is likewise asking the court to let her post bail in the plunder charge, reserved their right to cross-examine the witness during trial.
Estrada is detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City (Metro Manila), while Napoles is serving her life sentence for serious illegal detention at the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City.