Senate to probe banks after BPI, BDO glitches

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 16 2017 04:07 PM | Updated as of Jun 16 2017 07:07 PM

MANILA - The Senate is set to open next week an inquiry on the state of the banking system after alleged glitches and fraud hit two of the country's largest lenders this month.

Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Friday called for the investigation, saying "the matter of the security and integrity of our banking sector has now become an urgent topic to examine and be transparent about."

"BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands), BDO plus the news of the recent arrests of foreigners tampering with our ATMs (automated teller machines) should be sufficient impulse and justification for us to hear and investigate this matter," Pimentel said.

Sen. Francis Escudero, chair of the Senate committee on banks, said the chamber will hold a hearing on June 21. 

"The aim of the probe is to establish factual basis behind what has been going on in relation to BPI and BDO amidst the reports there have been some problems in relation to their respective ATM machines," he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

"We will look into the possibility of ensuring that there are enough safeguards should this happen again, whether because of human error or glitch, depending on what will come out in our hearing," he said.

BDO Unibank on Friday called on depositors to report cases of ATM "skimming," one week after an "internal error" paralyzed electronic services of rival BPI.

BDO Unibank President Nestor Tan on Friday played down reports of ATM fraud, saying these were "nothing out of the ordinary" and that compromised cards were disabled.

The National Privacy Commission said Friday it would check BPI's governance and technical protocols to make sure the unprecedented glitch would not happen again.

"As advocate and vanguard of people's privacy rights, however, the NPC's public mandate compels us to look even further and deeper into this matter," Privacy Commissioner Raymund Enriquez Liboro said.