Duterte warns BSP execs: Resign or be treated as drug addict

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 22 2016 04:08 PM | Updated as of Dec 22 2016 05:59 PM

Central bank deputy says they don't serve politics

MANILA (1st UPDATE) – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday told Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) officials to resign, saying they are hampering the government’s efforts in fighting corruption.

If they don't resign immediately, they will be treated as a "drug addict(s)," Duterte warned. 

“I’m warning again central bank for the second time…I’m going to charge all of you there, criminally. I’ll count 1 to 3 and if you don’t resign, I will treat you as a drug addict,” Duterte said in his speech after signing the 2017 national budget.

Duterte lamented anew Anti-Money Laundering Council’s (AMLC) alleged non-cooperation in his government’s fight against money laundering. The central bank governor, Amando Tetangco Jr., sits as chairman of the AMLC.

Duterte and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II earlier accused the AMLC of sitting on the government’s requests for bank records of Senator Leila de Lima and other personalities implicated in the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison.

Aguirre, in a separate interview, however clarified that Duterte's warning was only addressed to the AMLC secretariat. 

The president again lamented that AMLC was engaged in politics, citing as an example the incident before the May 9 elections when it supposedly released his bank records following allegations he was keeping over P200 million in a secret bank account.

“You are contributing to the corruption of this country,” Duterte told BSP officials.

“You have reported to the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and submitted it very late yet you don’t have the assessment report. Kaya kayo nilagay dyan kasi may trabaho kayo. If you cannot do your job, get out from that office.”

Duterte also warned BSP officials to wait for the departure of Tetangco, whom he promised to "whack."

“Tetangco is about to retire. Better prepare there for I’ll give you a whack. You are all corrupt and serving master,” Duterte said.

Duterte's latest statement comes as a surprise since the Department of Finance announced earlier that the president was eyeing a third term for the central bank governor.

Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said the Bangko Sentral was independent and would not comment on the president's remarks.

"One thing we know, we are not serving politics," he told reporters. 

Aguirre earlier this week said NBI received from AMLC De Lima's bank records and other personalities implicated in the drug trade.

He, however, said the AMLC has yet to submit its analysis of the statements of accounts and bank transactions.

Asked if he saw prima facie evidence that De Lima's accounts had unusually huge deposits, Aguirre said he has yet to look at the file submitted by the NBI on December 16. - with Reuters