PSBank docs didn't come from AMLC: prosecutors

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 15 2012 08:45 PM | Updated as of Feb 16 2012 04:45 AM

MANILA, Philippines - House prosecutors denied on Wednesday that the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) helped them secure records of Chief Justice Renato Corona from Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank).

Prosecution panel spokesman Miro Quimbo said they are exploring the possibility of getting AMLC's assistance but noted the council has very strict requirements before it can open a bank account for scrutiny.

Before the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) in 2001, only a court order can open a bank account to scrutiny.

Quimbo confirmed the AMLC can get access to all bank accounts but only in coordination with bank officials.

PSBank officials have maintained that the documents presented by House prosecutors before Corona's impeachment trial are fake and spurious.

PSBank Katipunan Branch Manager Annabelle Tiongson revealed on Monday that the branch was subjected to a special audit by the AMLC in November 2010, which means the AMLC also had access to the documents.

The AMLA authorizes the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to "inquire or examine any deposit or investment with any banking institution without court order in the course of a periodic or special examination." Amendments to the AMLA lowered the threshold for investigations into suspicious transactions from P4 million to P500,000.

The AMLC is composed of the BSP governor as Chairman and the commissioner of the Insurance Commission and the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission as members.

Prosecutors said PSBank officials are just protecting the company’s interests.

Spokesman Lorenzo Tañada III said once the bank presents the originals on file, the authenticity of the documents will be determined.

He said the prosecution will be vindicated after being under fire for supposedly presenting questionable documents to the court.

Spokesman Sonny Angara said PSBank officials had agreed the documents had similarities with the originals on file.

Quimbo said the prosecution acted in good faith when they used the documents to get Senate subpoenas for Corona's bank accounts.

He said the House panel had admitted they cannot vouch for the authenticity of the documents. He said the best proof of the accuracy of the documents is that it supplied correct information on Corona’s accounts.