MANILA, Philippines—The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Wednesday said its normal audit process did not cover records of deposit accounts owned by clients of banks.
Bank audits, which entail review of financial statements of banks, are regularly conducted by the BSP as part of its regulatory function.
Fe de la Cruz, head of the corporate affairs office of the BSP, said the exclusion of bank deposit records from the audit was due to the Bank Secrecy Law that the central bank was observing.
“Audits do not include bank deposit records,” De la Cruz said when asked to comment on allegations that the BSP, which earlier audited Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank), had records of Corona’s deposit accounts and that it was the one that leaked the records.
In a brief statement issued Wednesday night, the BSP said that besides the Bank Secrecy Law, two other laws prohibited the central bank from looking into deposit accounts.
DoJ to probe leak
“Bank examiners [of the BSP] are not authorized to look into deposit accounts by virtue of three laws: Republic Act No. 1405 or the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Law, Republic Act No. 6426 or the Foreign Currency Deposit Act and Republic Act No. 7653 or the BSP Charter,” the central bank said.
In Malacañang, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said it would be the Department of Justice (DoJ) that would investigate the leakage of PSBank documents.
Valte said the DoJ would launch the investigation if someone filed a complaint.
“If there is an alleged violation of the Bank Secrecy Law, that would be the DoJ. That’s a criminal case,” Valte told reporters in reference to the deposit account records of Corona that the prosecution had presented as evidence and which PSBank officials claimed were not similar to the original documents in their possession.
Valte said the Palace had no part in the leakage. “Malacañang has no access to these records. As testified to by the bank manager herself, they are the only ones who have custody and access (to the documents),” she said.—With a report from Christine O. Avendaño
Originally posted at 09:15 pm | Wednesday, February 15, 2012