BSP denies accessing Corona deposits at PSBank
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Monday said its examiners did not access any records of the deposit accounts of Chief Justice Renato Corona, responding to accusations at his impeachment trial that the regulator may have leaked the said records.
“They (the BSP examiners) never requested to see the deposit account records of the Chief Justice nor were they presented the deposit account records of the Chief Justice,” the BSP said in a statement Monday night.
“BSP examiners, therefore, could not have copied nor secured copies of such deposit account records, including the signature cards of Chief Justice Renato Corona,” it added.
Earlier Monday, the defense panel said the Senate may have to stop scrutinizing the bank accounts of Corona should it turn out that the Anti-Money Laundering Council (Amlac) was the source of the supposed spurious bank documents pertaining to Corona’s dollar accounts.
“If it would be proven that . . . the government had a hand in the release of the bank records, then it would clearly fall under the exclusionary rule,” the defense spokesperson, Tranquil Salvador III, said in a news briefing during a break in the trial.
Asked to elaborate, Salvador said the exclusionary rule was a legal principle which prohibited the use of illegally obtained evidence during the trial of an accused.
According to him, the principle is also consistent with Article III, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution which protects every citizen from unreasonable searches and seizures.
But the prosecution panel insisted that photocopies of bank documents on the peso accounts of Corona with Philippine Savings Bank, which it attached to its request for subpoena, did not come from Amlac.
“No. I don’t think it’s from Amlac,” said Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, one of the prosecution spokespersons.
At the impeachment hearing, senator-judges tried to see if there was a possibility that the documents attached to Annex A of the request for subpoena could have been leaked by Amlac, a government unit tasked with investigating laundered money, particularly when a bank reports suspicious transactions amounting to P500,000 and above.
Asked why the prosecution did not bother to include Amlac president Vicente Aquino as a witness who can testify on a possible Amlac report on the Corona accounts, Angara said there was no need for it as it would only prolong the prosecution’s presentation on the second article of the impeachment complaint, which pertains to Corona’s nondisclosure of assets in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
“Like we said, we’re not worried about the provenance or the source of the original documents because evidence are already on record. There is no way you can take that out,” he said.
Told that the bank documents had not been offered as evidence of the prosecution, Angara said the testimony of bank officials was already part of the record of the impeachment court.
“They have to move to strike it out but we feel there is no solid basis to strike it out,” Angara said.
At Monday’s hearing, Garcia confirmed that Amlac conducted an audit of PSBank from September to November 2010 and targeted, among others, the account of Corona.
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