Senator Panfilo Lacson has filed a bill that excludes government officials and employees from the coverage of RA 1405 or the bank secrecy law.
Lacson, in filing Senate Bill 47, said while the purpose of the Bank Secrecy Act is meritorious in preserving the confidentiality of bank transactions, the law is also being used by unscrupulous government officials to hide their ill-gotten wealth.
“This provision of the law prohibiting the disclosure of or inquiry to bank deposits had been exploited time and again to hamper and stall investigations of government officials and employees suspected of enriching themselves while in public office,” he pointed out.
Section 2 of RA 1405 declares all deposits of whatever nature with banks or banking institutions in the Philippines including investments in bonds as “absolutely confidential” and may not be examined, inquired or looked into by any person, government official, bureau or office.
The prohibition can only be lifted upon “written permission of the depositor, or in cases of impeachment, or upon order of a 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.”
Lacson wants to amend Section 2 of the law to exclude from the protection of the Bank Secrecy Law all depositors who are elective or appointive officials or employees of the government, from the President down to the lowest-ranking employee.
Senator Leila De Lima also filed her own proposed amendments to RA 1405 and like Lacson’s proposal, her bill also seeks to exempt government officials and employees from the coverage of the law.
She said her proposal will promote transparency in governance and will significantly lessen attempts of accumulate ill-gotten wealth.