Waiver of bank account secrecy is a sound idea

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Indeed, this may be what Victor Hugo called “an idea whose time has come.”
Hugo wrote that famous line in 1852 in an essay titled The history of a crime. He contended that the French Revolution was France’s gift to the world.

The key passage reads: “The French revolution is for all the world. It is a battle perpetually waged for Right, and perpetually gained for Truth. Right is the innermost part of man; Truth is the innermost part of God. What can be done against a revolution, which has so much right on its side? Nothing. To love it. That is what the nations do. France offers herself, the world accepts her. The whole phenomenon lies in these few words. An invasion of armies can be resisted; an invasion of ideas cannot be resisted.”

The final line has been loosely translated, “There is nothing stronger than an idea whose time has come.” And that’s how it’s usually remembered today.

I thought of using the quote for a piece on Duterte that would highlight the fact that he is the first man or woman from Mindanao to run for President in our history. But before I could say that history could be on his side, DU30 detonated and immolated himself in a bonfire of profanities and blood-curdling threats.


A live and burning issue

So here I am, reduced in this column into substituting the waiver of bank deposits secrecy as the idea whose time has come.

We are not talking here about waiving secrecy for all deposits, or about the repeal of the law governing bank deposits: Republic Act No. 1405, or the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act, which provides that bank deposits may only be inquired into with a written permission of the depositor.

Rather, this concerns the proposal for presidential candidates to issue a waiver of secrecy for all their bank accounts, as an earnest of their desire to show the people that they are not secretly hiding stolen or unexplained wealth.

It has become a live and burning issue because of the disclosure by Sen. Antonio Trillanes that presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has over P200 million stashed away in bank accounts at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (Julia Vargas Ave. Branch). Duterte claims that it is all a lie. Trillanes says he will resign as senator and withdraw his candidacy for vice president if his charge is shown to be without basis.

We could wind up with one less presidential candidate and one less vice-presidential candidate by the time Election Day comes. Some will say, that’s not a bad idea, considering the wild-and-woolly campaign we have been seeing.

Binay throws down the gauntlet

To his credit, it was Vice-President Jejomar Binay who first proposed this perfectly sound idea of waiving secrecy on the bank accounts of presidential candidates. He proposed it at the second presidential debate held in Cebu City.

He dared all five presidential candidates (Manuel Roxas II, Rodrigo Duterte, Grace Poe, Miriam Defensor-Sanbtiago, and himself) to waive secrecy over their bank accounts, and to authorize the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to investigate their bank holdings.

Binay signed the waiver and threw down the gauntlet as it were (the idiom comes from medieval times when knights would throw down a glove to challenge someone to a duel). But not one of his presidential opponents, not even the tough-talking Duterte, picked up the gauntlet.

The moderators did not see the historic opportunity to create a headline; they focused instead on preventing Binay from bringing out the waiver forms and his files of documents on stage.

Trillanes’s big moment

Sen. Trillanes, in his only noteworthy move in the campaign, has gotten traction with his expose of the millions stashed away by Duterte. He gave details about the bank, the branch and the account, and the mind-boggling amounts involved.
The story might have died as just another allegation but for the alert action of the camp of Mar Roxas.

Yesterday, on social media, the evidence of the Duterte account’s existence surfaced through a deposit slip of P500. The sum was deposited by someone from Mar Roxas’ staff toward Duterte’s account to verify the existence of the BPI account. BPI accepted the deposit and issued a receipt to the depositor, which means that the account is still a live one. The deposit slip image was posted on social media.

Caught at his lie, Duterte, who had earlier vehemently denied that he had a BPI account at the BPI Julia Vargas branch, finally admitted that he does have a BPI account and several other bank accounts.

But he still tried to lie despite being caught, saying that the hundreds of millions no longer exist and that the account contains only P17,000 and below P50,000.

He did not explain why he failed to include these bank accounts in his 2014 Statement of Assets, Liablities and Networth (SALN), which is required of every government official and employee.

Earlier, Duterte and his camp said, after the expose, that he was mulling filing a libel suit against Trillanes, insinuating that Trillanes had obtained the bank information illegally.

The mayor and his runningmate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, last month signed a waiver allowing the public to scrutinize their bank accounts and even challenged their rivals to do so. It’s a phony waiver.

Vice President Binay’s waiver offer is the real thing. What he proposed can be accepted, because the candidates must submit the waivers to the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
Administration bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas II joined the fray as he slammed Duterte for blatantly lying about the existence of his BPI bank account.

Roxas disclosed that he had asked his staff to deposit money into Duterte’s account and was able to confirm that it belonged to “Rodrigo Roa Duterte” and “Sara Z. Duterte,” the mayor’s daughter.

Roxas signed a waiver for his accounts and posted it on social media.

Trying to get into the act, Grace Poe lamely declared that she is willing to execute a bank waiver if there are similar issues being hurled at her.

A national tragedy

Yesterday, former Chief Justice Renato Corona died suddenly from cardiac arrest.
His sudden passing is doubly saddening and ironic, because it has come at a time when the bank secrecy law is being questioned heavily, and the subject of hidden bank deposits has become an issue in the election campaign.

The former chief justice was impeached for allegedly failing to include foreign currency deposits in his SALN, and he was thereafter convicted when he inexplicably and dramatically executed a waiver of secrecy on his bank accounts.

The controversy over his bank deposits was triggered by violations of the bank secrecy law by no less than the AMLC, and evidently on the command of President BS Aquino III.
The fact that 20 senators sold themselves for Corona’s lynching turned his story into a national tragedy.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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14 Comments

  1. So Binay is your man. I don’t care for the vicious tactics that this hypocritical administration is using on Duterte. They are probably afraid to be fed to the fishes. I care about what Duterte will do for the good of this country. Many believe he is fit for the job. Pls stop using this paper to sensationalize what is half truths from this Trillanes who was one of the bribed senator-judge in the impeachmwnt of CJ Corona.Shame on him! I hope karma will come for these people.

  2. si Duterte ang pinaka-corrupt sa mga Presidentiables, kasi niloko niya ang Pilipino lalo na ang mahihirap na nag-donate nang bu-ong puso sa kanyang campaign, tinanggap nang kanyang kampo pero HE IS ACTUALLY a billionaire! Help us GOD…

  3. Slightly off topic but i raise this point to you Yen in hopes of seeing a topic and action taken if possible…and very soon.

    One would think one could not run for President with the clear intent to commit a crime ….one would also presume he couldn’t take the oath of office ( to uphold the law) with the clear intent to commit a crime as it would be a straightforward statement of perjury made while accepting that oath.

    None of us could track how many times he has assured us he will execute people without trial in the future or the hoards he has already killed. Its common knowledge and clearly believable he intends to commit murder. Not a lawyer but know even plotting such a scenario is a criminal act.

    This is why if say Trump promised to kill Mexicans rather than deport them…the FBI would jump on him, off to jail and out of the race. Considering most laws are xeroxed straight from US law books in this country…. how can he possibly be running?…and why isn’t he being arrested?

  4. trillanes is doing a good thing. however to educate the followers of kumander tatang is like talking to a deaf dumb and blind kid.

  5. Amnata Pundit on

    It was Bongbong Marcos who first floated the idea that bank secrecy be waived for all elected officials, and yes this is an idea whose time has come. As for Duterte’s money in BPI, what if these were campaign donations? Is that a crime?

  6. I deposit amounts into the BPI accounts of my brother and sister in law in the province and there is a machine in every BPI branch that I go to where to make a deposit you punch in the name of the beneficiary and his/her account number and the amount of deposit. Then you present the piece of paper with a just a number issued by the macine to the teller with your deposit for which the teller gives you the BPI appropriate deposit document. I am able to do this because I was given the account numbers of my brother and sister by them before hand. Now my question is how did Roxas’ people manage to make deposits in Duterte’s account without knowing his account number I doubt that Duterte gave this to them.

  7. Victor Hugo got perfectly right. And to borrow his words about French Revolution, the same idea is LONG OVERDUE in our country!

    It is only through REVOLUTION that a meaningful and moral change in economics and politics can be accomplished! And to borrow another phrase – THROW THE BASTARDS AWAY – I mean the Oligarch and their conniving corrupt politicians!

  8. It may be sad that the counry has come to a point when ‘anger’ of the poor, the illiterate and the down-trodden prevails over ‘decency’ and ‘morality’ which, in a way, is a REVOLUTION against politics as usual

    Everyone is talking about ‘decency’ and ‘morality’ because of admissions by Duterte, but where is decency and morality with all the ever-existing corruption of government officials, members of the oligarch and the intelligentia group? How hypocrite can everyone be? What has ‘exposes’ of the ills in the system done in the past? Why are we still having the same problems?

    The people are fed-up of politics as usual. They now have the chance to change the system in a revolutionary way, without considering the usual ‘rules’. If Duterte can, at least, STOP the trend, he makes it; if not, BBM is ready to take over. If he can minimize or eradicate the ills of the system, well and good. Meanwhile, issues of the system against Duterte are Duterte’s problem or concern. Let him walk his talk!

    The change is NOW. May God save the Republic of the Philippines.

  9. pedro somoroy on

    Yen: how safe is my account with BPI? Can i still trust BPI.
    do you recommend transferring my money somewhere else?

    • Erlinda Rabe on

      Your money is safe unless you engaged in illegal activities which your deposits might be subject for investigation,

  10. Today, Mar Roxas also exposed Mayor Duterte’s US dollar accounts. The man who
    claims to be “poor, simple and living a simple life” has been revealed to be just another crook with unexplained and undeclared personal wealth. The money most likely arose from bribes, smuggling, drugs, and misappropriated government funds. It is not surprising that the accounts are “joint” with his daughter Sarah (the one who proclaimed that she herself had been raped and that rape is no big deal). As they say, “the apple does not fall too far from the tree”.

    Kudos to Mar Roxas for verifying the existence of the Mayor’s peso and dollar bank accounts. Depositing funds into the suspected accounts is pretty original and shows his and his staff’s knowledge of bank procedures. I suspect the Mayor also owns bank accounts and real estate properties in other countries. Let us just hope these will all emerge before election day.

    Senator Trillanes and his group of whistle-blowers must be congratulated for a job well-done. They are patriots and all deserve a gold medal.

    VP J. Binay had no hesitation in signing a bank waiver and challenging the other candidates to do the same because the loot that he allegedly stole from Makati’s coffers (in the billions) is mostly in the names of his surrogates (example: in the name of Gerry Limlingan who is still missing), relatives or family, and shell companies.

    In terms of honesty and incorruptibility when it comes to money, Mar Roxas, who has signed a bank waiver, leaves the other presidential candidates in the dust. Lying Grace’ offer to sign a waiver would be more meaningful if her offer would include that of her husband who is now rumored to be her bag man, and who supposedly had given Chiz Escudero 500 million pesos. “Quid pro quo”?

  11. Why is the Filipino person so infatuated with money? Its really all you consider…who steals what amount of paper.

    Hello…..can you wake up now?

    Read this line an try to ingest it…You have a serious contender for President that boasts the fact with pride that he has murdered 1700 people in cold blood without trial or due process and plans for 100000 more. At which point he will pardon himself for his own crimes as he is the President.

    Read it again.

    Now if all these killings are legal….why would he have to pardon himself?

    Isn’t it obvious this guy is a criminal? Or are the people of this country complete morons?

  12. 20 senators sold their souls to Benigno Satan Aquino for a huge pile of cash and Trillanes was one of them. These hypocrites will stop at nothing to be rid of Duterte. Pwe ! Mga bastos! As for your column – shame on you Mr Makabenta! You are also one big hypocrite …

    • This does not answer the allegation. You may have a point that 20 Senators sold their souls to PNoy. But still, the allegation against Duterte may not be wrong as well…let us be reasonable by keeping our minds open to all arguments by intelligently evaluating evidences or at least by logic. We are in the period of electing our president and we all know that their election will carry a big effect on us as citizens. Let us be wise in voting. I recommend that you switch to Miriam Santiago who has never been tainted with corruption.