Faced against Wong, Deguito clams up at Senate probe
Maia Santos-Deguito, former branch manager of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), clamped up during a Senate hearing on Tuesday when confronted by a casino junket operator, whom she dragged into the alleged $81 million money-laundering scheme.
At the resumption of the ongoing Senate blue ribbon committee investigation on the issue, businessman Kim Wong again narrated his meeting with Deguito in his office at the Midas Hotel sometime in May 2015 where he recommended Chinese businessman Shuhua Gao to the former branch manager.
Wong said Gao was a junket agent, who wanted to open a dollar account so he could pay his P450 million debt to him. He later tagged Gao and a certain Ding Zhize as the ones who had allegedly brought the $81 million stolen funds from the Bangladesh’s central bank into the country.
“Nadinig ko sa testimony nya (Deguito), may limang tao raw ako na ipinakilala. Tanong nyo po sa kanya kung totoo po yun,” Wong said when committee chair, Senator Teofisto Guingona III, asked him to narrate how they opened the five accounts in RCBC branch on Jupiter Street, Makati City, which were allegedly used to transmit the stolen funds.
(I heard from her testimony that I allegedly referred five individuals to her. Ask her if that is true.)
The junket operator was referring to Deguito’s earlier claim that it was Wong who referred to her the five depositors, who later received and withdrew the stolen funds.
When asked by Guingona to comment on Wong’s testimony, Deguito invoked her right against self-incrimination, citing the cases that have been filed against her.
“Sir, as much as I want to, AMLC (Anti-Money Laundering Council) has already filed a case against me. I hope all of you understand that as much as I want to participate, kaliwa’t kanan na po ang kaso ko so limited na lang po yung kaya kong sabihin (cases have been filed against me so I can only speak in a limited manner) because everything that I may say may be taken against me,” she said.
“Therefore, are you invoking…?” Guingona asked.
“I’m sorry, yes, your honor, I’m invoking my right against self-incrimination,” Deguito said.
Wong earlier denied Deguito’s allegation that he referred the five depositors, saying he only recommended one person to her and that was Gao. RAM
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