Ex-assistant manager clears Deguito, cries harassment from RCBC execs
The resigned assistant manager of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) branch at the center of the $81-million money laundering scheme on Friday came to the defense of manager Maia Santos-Deguito and cried harassment from RCBC executives.
In an interview over radio dzBB, Angela Torres of the RCBC branch on Jupiter Street in Makati City belied the claims of former customer service head Romualdo Agarrado who testified in the Senate blue ribbon committee probe on the alleged money laundering scheme on Thursday.
Agarrado said during the hearing that he personally saw the P20-million cash, believed to be part of the $81 million stolen funds from the Bank of Bangladesh, placed in a paper bag and being loaded to Deguito’s car last Feb. 5 when the inward remittance in the name of businessman William Go, one of the businessmen linked in the laundering, came in.
Torres said it was not true that the P20-million cash was loaded to Deguito’s vehicle, adding that it was not contained in a paper bag but in a box smaller than a “balikbayan” box.
“Halos lahat ng inihayag ni Mr. Agarrado sa Senate hearing kahapon ay pawang mga kasinungalingan… Hindi naka-paper bag ang pera, naka-box at isinakay sa kotseng Lexus ni William Go. Hindi totoo ang sinasabi ni Mr. Agarrado na isinakay ang pera sa sasakyan ni Ms. Maia,” Torres said.
(Almost all of Mr. Agarrado’s statements in the Senate hearing yesterday were lies. The cash was not put in a paper bag, instead it was placed in a box and was loaded to William Go’s Lexus. Agarrado was not telling the truth when he said that the money was loaded to Ms. Maia’s car.)
“Hindi rin po totoo na nagla-log ang guard namin ng mga dumadating na kliyente kaya nagulat din po ako sa binanggit ni Mr. Agarrado… Napakadami niya pong dinamay na tao na dapat wala sa storya hindi rin po namin naiintindihan,” she said.
(It is also not true that our guard was logging the names of the clients who enter [our branch] that’s why I was suprised by what he said. He has involved many people who are not supposed to be in the story, that’s why we don’t understand it.)
Agarrado said he saw Jovy Morales, the bank’s messenger, load the money to Deguito’s vehicle with the help of Torres.
Asked about Go’s dollar account, Torres said it was her who called the businessman and confirmed that he would be opening a dollar account, adding that the client personally signed the withdrawal slip of P20 million before her.
Go’s camp earlier claimed that his signature was forged by Deguito and that the latter admitted that she opened an unathorized account under the businessman’s name in a meeting last Feb. 23 in a Taguig restaurant.
“Sa harap ko pinirmahan ni William Go ang withdrawal slip ng 20 million. Ako ang tumawag at nag confirm kay William Go na magbubukas siya ng dollar account,” Torres said. “Hindi po si Ms. Maia ang nag-maniobra. Inopen lang po namin ‘yung dollar account ni William Go at ginawa ‘yung ini-instruct n’ya.”
(William Go signed the withdrawal slip of P20 million before me. I was the one who called him and confirmed to him that he would open a dollar account. Ms. Maia did not fabricate it. We just opened William Go’s dollar account as he instructed.)
Torres added that the RCBC head office confirmed that the remittance that came in was supposedly valid. “Kampante kami na okay ‘tong remittance na ‘to,” she recalled.
(We were confident that this remittance was valid.)
Torres said she does not understand why the RCBC management was pinning them down, adding that she has been receiving threats from the bank’s executives.
READ: RCBC pins down manager
“Alam ko po ‘yung transaction kasi sa branch po nangyari lahat. Yung sinasabi ni Mr. Agarrado na nilagay sa kotse… masyado na pong OA [over-acting] si RCBC para gawin sa amin ‘to. Hindi ko po alam kung bakit kailangang gawin ni RCBC ‘to sa amin,” she said.
(I know the transaction because it transpired in our branch. What Mr. Agarrado said that the cash was loaded to Deguito’s car [was not true]… The RCBC was over-acting to do this to us. I don’t know why RCBC is doing this to us.)
Torres also aired a message to Macel Fernandez, the lawyer conducting an investigation on behalf of RCBC: “’Di ko po alam kung bakit galit na galit siya sakin dahil tinatakot n’ya po ako na ‘baka makulong ka.’ May nakukulong po ba sa pagsasabi ng totoo? Pati mga head ng RCBC tinatakot po ako.”
(I don’t know why she is very angry at me, she is threatening me that I might be sent to jail. Has anyone been jailed because of telling the truth? The RCBC heads are threatening me as well.)
Denying that she had personal gains in the transactions, Torres said she was willing to testify before the Senate to speak of nothing but the truth.
“Basta ako kung ipatawag po ako ng Senado sasabihin ko lang po kung ano po ‘yung totoo, ‘yung nalalaman ko,” she said. “Ginawa lang po namin kung ano ang trabaho ng branch. Sana po malaman yun ng sambayanang Pilipino.”
(If the Senate will summon me, I will only tell the truth and what I know. We are only performing the work of the branch. I hope our entire countrymen will know that.)
The Senate will resume its probe on March 29. RAM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.