Latest Stories

Comelec imposes money ban

All persons covered; limit is P100K



Starting Wednesday until May 13, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is imposing a ban on cash withdrawals of more than P100,000 from banks and other financial institutions.

The Comelec announced Tuesday the unprecedented move, which it kept under wraps until five days before election. The Comelec said it wants to stop vote-buying on Election Day.

The commission also banned the “possession, transportation and/or carrying of cash” worth more than P500,000.

Exempt from the ban on carrying cash worth more than half a million pesos are farmers, merchants and other “persons similarly situated traveling to and from Manila or other business destinations” if they show proof of their occupation and the “transaction which generated the cash exceeding the threshold.”

In Resolution No. 9688, the Comelec said it “resolved to prohibit the withdrawal of cash, encashment of checks and conversion of any monetary instrument into cash from May 8 to 13, 2013 exceeding P100,000 or its equivalent in any foreign currency.”

Money-ban checkpoint

The Comelec said the order covered banks, finance companies, quasi-banks, pawnshops, remittance companies and institutions performing similar functions while “all other noncash transactions are not covered.”

“To implement the ban, all existing Comelec checkpoints all over the Philippines are directed to conduct a 24-hour money-ban checkpoint, in addition to the gun-ban checkpoint for the duration of the period,” it added.

Warrantless arrest

The Comelec directed the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police-Intelligence Services to conduct operations against vote-buying, and if necessary, entrap vote-buyers and vote-sellers.

It said law enforcers or private individuals could arrest, without a warrant, any person who in their presence “has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit the election offense of vote-buying and selling.

All seven Comelec commissioners, including Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., signed the resolution. Commissioner Luie Guia signed with reservations.

“We are trying to prevent the circulation of cash which can be used for vote-buying. Historically, there are a lot of cash withdrawals during the last few days before elections,” Brillantes said in an interview.

All persons covered

“And if we limit it to P100,000 each, it will be very difficult to withdraw millions of pesos. All persons are covered. This is the first time Comelec is doing this,” he added.

Brillantes said the Comelec had been discussing since March a “money ban” to help prevent vote-buying and vote-selling on Election Day.

“We’re saying, ‘Let’s all keep quiet. Let’s draft a resolution but let’s take it up when Election Day gets close. Let’s keep quiet so no one would know about it,” he said.

“Because if they knew about it, everyone would withdraw (their cash) …. No one has been arrested for vote-buying. The only way to do it if we don’t jail people is to minimize vote-buying.”

BSP against ban

Brillantes said the Comelec issued the resolution despite opposition from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

“The Monetary Board has advised us that they do not agree with the resolution and gave us the advice that if it is not that important, we should not promulgate that anymore (because among other things) commerce will be affected,” Brillantes said.

In its resolution, the Comelec en banc said that the BSP had raised “certain concerns.”

Pointing out that it had the power under the Constitution to deputize government agencies during elections, the Comelec ordered the BSP, the Anti-Money Laundering Council and other financial agencies of the government to implement the resolution.


It added that the Comelec en banc may exempt government agencies and private persons and entities from its “money ban” resolution but only “on valid and exigent grounds.”

“In urgent cases, the respective [Comelec] provincial regional director, or in the case of the National Capital Region, its regional director, may issue exemptions that shall be valid unless revoked by the Commission en banc or the chairman whenever it is not in session,” the Comelec said.

It said that all withdrawals of cash or encashment of checks or a series of these acts that would total more than P500,000 “within one banking day from the publication” of the resolution until May 13 shall be presumed to be for vote-buying and would be considered a “suspicious transaction” under the Anti-Money Laundering Law.

“For this purpose, the Anti-Money Laundering Council is hereby deputized to monitor and initiate investigations, and if necessary, inquire into and examine the deposit and related accounts involved in the suspected transaction,” the Comelec said.

Banks were confused and unaware of the details of the “money ban” ordered by the Comelec.

Edward Leandro Garcia, president of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines, said members of the rural banking industry had not been formally informed of the Comelec guidelines and that banks had only heard about the ban from the press.

There are about 500 rural banks in the country.

“If there is such a directive, then the Comelec should be communicating this with the BSP, which in turn should be the one to give us (banks) the order because the BSP is our regulator,” Garcia said in a phone interview.

But reacting solely on what had been reported by the press, Garcia expressed doubt on the prudence of the money ban. “If this is true, this might adversely affect business and trade transactions,” he said.

Garcia said imposing the ban might not be the appropriate measure to achieve the Comelec’s objective.

“If money would indeed be used for vote-buying, the ban may already be too late. By this time, money allegedly for vote-buying is highly likely to be already in the hands of the politicians,” Garcia said.

A media relations officer of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), meanwhile, said BPI had not yet received any formal order in connection with the ban.

“We have not yet been officially informed about it as of this time. We have not received any directive from the BSP either,” the media relations officer said. She said BPI could not yet issue any notice to its clients as of press time in the absence of a formal directive from the BSP.

As of last night, the BSP had yet to issue a statement on the money ban but said it was preparing to do so.

Lorenzo Tan, president of the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP), said the group and its members had yet to receive any official directive on the money ban.

In a text message to the Inquirer Tuesday night, Tan said BAP, the organization of universal and commercial banks in the country, was reserving any comment on the ban until a formal order was given to its members.—With a report from Michelle V. Remo

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Banking , Commission on Elections , Elections , money ban , Philippines , vote-buying

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • 4 Etihad passengers not yet located
  • DAR to complete installation of Luisita land reform beneficiaries in May
  • Ex-COA chief and co-accused in Arroyo plunder case nabbed
  • Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  • The ‘link diagram’ that killed ex-Bataan police officer
  • Sports

  • NLEX holds off Jumbo Plastic for a playoff berth
  • Pacquiao can dodge tax issues
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges
  • Big Chill freezes Cafe France to arrest skid
  • Pacquiao has to go through PBA Rookie draft
  • Lifestyle

  • Summer Mayhem: The ultimate beach experience
  • A haven for steak lovers
  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • DOLE sees more Filipinos hired by South Koreans
  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
  • Marketplace