• Philrem messenger to take Senate hot seat

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    THE Senate Blue Ribbon committee investigating the laundering of the $81 million stolen from the Bank of Bangladesh may get additional information to shed light on how Philrem, a remittance firm, distributed money.

    Senator Teofisto Guingona, chairman of the Blue Ribbon committee, said they subpoenaed Mark Palmeras, the messenger of Philrem who was with Salud Bautista, the owner of the remittance firm, when she delivered a portion of the stolen fund to casino junket player Wei Kang Xu at Solaire Resort and Casino.

    Guingona issued the subpoena after Palmeras failed to appear twice in the hearing supposedly because of health reasons.

    Senate President pro-tempore Ralph Recto said Palmares’ appearance is crucial because he could testify if there was really a delivery of $17 million to Xu at Solaire resort.

    Bautista has maintained that she was with a messenger when she delivered the cash to Xu on several occasions.

    The Senate panel also invited Philrem’s accountant who is expected to enlighten the committee on the taxes paid by the remittance company as well as other transactions.

    Commissioner Kim Henares of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) earlier said that Philrem violated the National Internal Revenue Code for using a receipt not registered with the BIR.

    Aside from the issuing illegitimate receipts, Philrem is not a registered remittance company, Henares said.

    Today’s hearing is expected to be the last to be conducted by the committee.

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