MANILA - Proposed reforms to the bank secrecy law are not directly aimed at exposing corrupt government officials, an official of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas clarified on Thursday.
The BSP said its proposal is limited to allowing the central bank to monitor banking industry insiders.
”What our proposed amendment intends is meant to prevent insider abuse of bank directors, officers or agents, prevent them from abusing their powers and using bank secrecy as a shield. We have limited applicability,” said BSP Legal Counsel, Elmore Capule.
The BSP said that it would only have limited powers when it comes to scrutinizing bank deposits.
“If we talk about corruption, it is not in the immediate contemplation of that law,” Capule said, but added that the proposed law may still be used in the fight against corruption.
Asked if the measure can be used by the Commission on Audit, Capule said the BSP is not authorized by the proposed amendment to share data with COA.
“But it can be shared with the courts and DOJ (Department of Justice); and if COA is resourceful enough, they may be able to take off from that,” he said.
BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno earlier said the bill has been included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of legislative priorities
"The grounds for inquiry or examination of bank deposits are anchored on the following: In the exercise of BSP’s supervisory powers, upon determination by the Monetary Board that: there is reasonable ground to believe that a fraud, serious irregularity or unlawful activity has been or is being committed by the specified persons; and it is necessary to look into the deposit to establish such fraud, irregularity or unlawful activity; and in the course of its investigation of closed banks,” Diokno said on Thursday.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has also said that it supports easing the bank secrecy law as this will help the fight against money laundering.