P90M, $.5M ‘stolen’ funds placed in trolley—messenger
The messenger of a remittance company narrated at the Senate on Tuesday how P90 million in cash and another $500,000—placed in a suitcase, a traveling bag and a shoulder bag—were transported to a casino hotel with the help of a trolley.
The money was said to be part of the alleged $81 million stolen funds from the central bank of Bangladesh, which is the subject of the ongoing investigation of the Senate blue ribbon committee.
Testifying for the first time before the committee, Mark Palmares, messenger of Philrem Service Corp., confirmed that he delivered the money to Solaire Resort and Casino in Paranaque City on February 5 upon the instruction of his boss, Philrem President Salud Bautista.
Palmares said he picked up the money from their office at Cityland in Makati City and transported it to Solaire around 7:30 p.m.
He said he delivered the money all by himself.
“Gaano ba kabigat ang P90 million at kaya mag-isa?” committee chair Senator Teofisto Guingona III asked.
(How heavy is P90 million that a person can carry it by himself?)
“Naka-trolley naman po, binaba lang po sa sasakyan tapos kinarga sa trolley,” Palmares said.
(It was placed in a trolley. The money was brought down from the vehicle and transferred to the trolley.)
“May trolley sa Solaire (There is a trolley at Solitaire)?” asked Guingona, to which the messenger answered yes.
The senator then asked how many bags he used to carry the money.
“Bale po isang malaki po at saka po yung isa ganun kahaba, kataas… Maleta po nasa gilid. Malaki po yun,” Palmares said.
(I used a large bag and a suitcase on the side was also big.)
When Guingona asked again how many bags he was carrying, the messenger said: “Isang maleta po at saka po parang traveling bag na mahaba, saka po isang bag na pambabae na parang shoulder bag. Bale tatlo po.”
(A suitcase, a long traveling bag and a woman’s shoulder bag. There were three in total.)
Palmares said the three bags contained the P90 million and $500,000 cash.
“Kaya mong kargahin lahat yun?” asked Guingona.
(You could carry it all by yourself?)
It was at this point that the messenger admitted that his uncle, who happens to be the company’s driver, Ronilo Palmares, helped him off-load the bags from the vehicle.
However, the messenger said it was only he who pushed the trolley to the VIP room of Solaire where his boss, Bautista, and other Chinese-looking men were waiting for him.
Palmares said he then gave a receiving copy to Bautista and left the trolley with the bags of money.
Guingona then directed his questions at Bautista and asked how she gave the money to the recipient, junket operator Weikang Xu.
“Actually, Si Mr. Wong was there so sabi nya, player niya si Weikang Xu so sya na ang nag-identify kaya kinuha ko na lang ang passport at pinapirmahan ko sa kanya,” she said, referring to another junket operator, Kim Wong, one of the key players in the alleged money laundering scheme.
(Actually, Mr. Wong was there so he said that Weikang Xu is one of his players, so he identified him, that’s why I just asked for his passport and have him sign it.)
“So Mr. Weikang Xu signed it in front of you?” Guingona asked again.
“Yes, your honor,” Bautista said. RAM
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