Send them to jail!


A curious case of thievery was reported by the Times yesterday. An officer of Bangko Sental ng Pilipinas in Cotabato ripped off P32.7 million in government funds by using an admirably simple ruse.

It seems the bank notes are put in wrappers signifying their denominations: P100 and P1000 bills. Verlina Silo, acting cashier and currency operations officer, committed the crime by placing P100 bills in P1000 wrappers—and stuffed the bigger bills in her bag.

[Enough of the canard that women are more trustworthy than men, which is something politicians fabricate in their assiduous pursuit of the women’s vote.]

Chair Grace Pulido-Tan of the Commission on Audit stated in a decision that Ms. Silo was able to squirrel away the whole amount in just over a month. How she pulled it off without raising suspicion is still a mystery.

The woman has since been cashiered—no pun intended—in order, presumably, to save the rest of the money in the BSP branch from her clutches. Given enough time, she would have driven the whole country bankrupt, thanks to the stupidity of her superiors.

Bank manager Perry Dequita and assistant cashier Evelyn Yap would object to so harsh a word. But either they are stupid or they conspired with the Ms. Silo, who has owned up to the crime.

One would think the government, especially those at the BSP, had thought of all the ways people, especially those under its employ, could steal—and come up with the necessary safeguard to thwart it. Not so, apparently. If it is to save face, the government should vigorously prosecute these people and make sure they serve time.

But COA’s recommendation is only to charge them “administratively”. Is that all that agency can come up with? A slap on the wrist?

Some time ago there was a story of a woman sentenced to five years in prison for shoplifting. The woman had informed the court she was merely trying to save her baby from starvation, but, you know,“justice must be done even if the heavens fall.”

The two officers, if we go by proportion, deserve to spend the rest of their natural life in prison.


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