Name names, bankers, solons demand

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Name names, bankers, solons demand

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Galon; Butawan
Galon; Butawan

Two institutions – the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Bohol and the Bohol Bankers Association cried foul over sly insinuations of alleged $81 million deposit in a local bank by a “top provincial government official” that has smeared their respective reputations.

The Bohol Bankers Association through their spokesperson, Deo Butawan, manager of Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI), Tagbilaran Branch also appealed to those who made public the “blind item” to “name the account holder”.

HIDDEN WEALTH

The amazing story of the $81 million bank deposit allegedly owned by a “top provincial government official” took a life of its own and swirled its way into social media after a post appeared in the facebook account of Atty. Salvador Diputado “Dis-a gikan ang binilyon nga deposito? (Where did the billion deposit originate?)”

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Butawan told DYRD Balita that those in the know should “come out with clean hands and provide information on the alleged mishandling of the confidentiality of bank documents”.

Butawan also finds the circumstances leading to the discovery of the account “an blatantly implausible claim” considering that a bankbook with such amount is under the category of a preferred client or a financial institution therefore transactions are handled by officials with the rank of vice presidents.

Also, the alleged amount was highly unlikely, according to Butawan in an earlier interview with DYRD Balita, that in the banking circles in Bohol, no bank is known to have $81 million or P3.6 billion.

The alleged amount of the deposit, according to Butawan would merit a huge promotion of a manager to a vice president of the bank, if proven to be true.

R.A. 9160 otherwise known as the “Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001” requires banks to report suspicious transactions in cash or other equivalent instruments involving a total amount in excess of P500,000.00 within one business day.

UNPRECEDENTED LEAK

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According to Diputado’s facebook post, the story that went viral got going with an intrigue about a priest, whom he did not identify who went to a local bank to make a deposit.

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After the transaction, the priest allegedly unwittingly got hold of a bankbook given by the bank teller under the name of a “top provincial official” showing a balance of $81 million.

Stunned, the priest returned the bankbook of the top provincial official and after getting hold of his bankbook left the bank.

Deeply disturbed by the staggering amount he saw in the bankbook, the priest reportedly decided to confess to the anchormen of DYTR’s “Cuentas Claras”.

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However, bank sources told the Chronicle the difficulty in identifying a foreign currency transaction through figures in the bankbook since the currency symbols are not shown in the pages of the bankbook.

Bank account numbers are coded to identify the classification of a bank account into domestic or foreign which is difficult for a layman upon just a cursory glance of the figures to determine the nature of the account.

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Diputado, in his facebook post said that the bank teller’s whereabouts are now reportedly unknown, apparently disciplined by bank officials for her careless handling of depositors documents that led to the unexpected discovery of the alleged $81 million deposit.

WHISTLE-BLOWER

Meanwhile, the parish priest of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Songculan, Dauis, Fr. Patricio Gal “top provincial official “categorically denied his involvement in the alleged unprecedented leak.

Galon told the Chronicle on Saturday “I do not know Atty. Diputado. I never went to the bank, I never saw a bankbook with $81 million more so the name of the account holder”.

When asked by the Chronicle if he went to Diputado’s program “Cuentas Claras”, Galon answered “I did not go to that program”.

According to Galon, he was also approached by Vice Governor Concepcion Lim and a member of a media outfit to verify his knowledge about the deposit.

When asked to comment on Galon’s statement, Diputado told the Chronicle “I will not confirm nor deny his statement. I am now getting deeper into circumstances surrounding the alleged bank deposit”.

SUSPECTS

“Name names”, this was the challenge hurled by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) to media over accusations that a “top official of the Provincial Government of Bohol” has squirreled away $81 million in bank accounts in connivance with a local bank.

3rd District Board Member Elpidio Jala, filed a manifestation on Friday, July 17, 2016 expressing deep concern over “issues that tainted the integrity of the provincial officialdom”.

Jala stressed that the SP “should not be a silent bystander since we are all considered suspects unless the depositor is identified”.

Jala moved that the “author of the information be called to clarify the issue and identify the depositor before the SP sitting as a committee of the whole.

1st District Board Member Vencenzio Arcamo cautioned the public not to snap at any information peddled in social media and advised them to be more discerning in their appreciation of issues.

The $81 million deposit of a top provincial official has triggered wild speculations on the part of the public in the identity of the owner of the bank account.

UNEXPLAINED

Insinuations of wrongdoings on the part of the alleged owner of the $81 million were also raised by Diputado in his post saying that the salaries the official received during the nine year service in the government would not amount to one billion.

According to Diputado, this official is not known to gamble therefore could not explain away his wealth as gambling winnings nor business profits since he is not a businessman.

Diputado surmised that the $81 million was not declared in the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) of the official.

The story, with unbelievable elements as if it were true and factual continues to mesmerize the public pushing those allegedly involved to call for a formal investigation to sift truth from fiction.

HILARITY AND CURIOSITY

Other banking sources were tinkled pink by the hilarious amateurs trying to pick up points for themselves or political patrons. The dumb plotters had the poor imagination of using the same S81-M figure hijacked from Bangladesh sovereign accounts and laundered in the Philippines through casino operators whose industry is exempt from the AMLA.

They even had the alacrity here of using the same commercial bank involved in the Bangladesh case whose president had already resigned. Most of the $81-M money have already been filtered to parts unknown.

For the same amount to suddenly resurrect in a relatively small province like Bohol staggers the imagination that would put thriller author Ludlum to shame.

The bankers appealed to the public not to be swayed by these tall tales of money and intrigues. And put an end to baseless speculations by ignoring the ridiculous financial fairy tale of the $81-M that never was, they said. (Chito M. Visarra)

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