Umali: 'Small lady' came from PSBank?

By David Dizon,

Posted at Feb 21 2012 11:11 AM | Updated as of Feb 21 2012 09:41 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Oriental Mindoro 2nd District Rep. Reynaldo Umali on Tuesday said a bank employee could have leaked documents on Chief Justice Renato Corona's bank accounts in Philippine Savings Bank.

"It could have come from the bank. I think it is one of the bank personnel who is really getting  fed up with all of these lies and, para sa bayan, naisip siguro niya it's about time these things come out in the open," Umali told ABS-CBN News Channel's "Headstart."

In the interview, Umali denied that House prosecutors could have manufactured the document on their own.

"If you look at the document with all the handwritings and signatures and even the signature of Chief Justice Corona contained therein coupled with the facsimile of passport and some other documents, it would be foolhardy on our part to even think of manufacturing it. I cannot understand where that idea came from," he said.

He added that any alterations of the document could have come from the bank.

"This is a living document as far as the bank is concerned...The bank president has full control of this document. If there is anyone that can alter this, it is them not us."

Umali has come under heavy criticism for saying that a supposedly leaked PSBank document was given to him by a "small lady" inside the Senate. House prosecutors used the document to request for a subpoena to Corona's bank records.

CCTV footage in the Senate found no trace of the "small lady" who supposedly approached Umali.

In his interview, the congressman stood by his story that a small lady gave him the documents. He denied that he knew the source of the documents.

"I confess to Almighty that I do not know the person. It is really a lady, it is a very insignificant person to me. I did not even have a glimpse of her. It happened so fast," he said.

42 points of difference

Umali also questioned the testimony of PSBank president Pascual M. Garcia who said there were "42 points of difference" in the allegedly leaked document and the originals in the bank.

In his testimony, Garcia noted the 3 specimen signatures in the bank's original document "are written with a fluid stroke indicating a spontaneous and natural execution and they are likewise thicker indicating use of a sign pen."

On the other hand, he said the signatures on the annexed document submitted to the court showed "visible tremors indicating inconsistent pressure and possible tracing and the lines are thinner indicating the use of a ballpoint pen."

He said the annexed document also had a notation "PEP" or "politically exposed person", which does not appear in the original.

Umali, however, said Garcia cannot be relied on as an expert witness.

"For one, he is not an expert witness. He is not a document expert or a handwriting expert. I think he is going beyond his scope in trying to point out these differences," he said.

Asked about the differences between the documents, he said details on the bank documents such as highlights, underlined items and an annotation of "PEP" or politically exposed person could have been added later.

"In the photocopying of this document, things could change from the original to the photocopied document to another document photocopied for the nth time," he said.

Amlac denies audit

During Monday's hearing, Garcia also revealed that representatives of the Anti-Money Laundering Council and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) examined Corona's documents during a bank-wide audit in September to November 2010.

He said he was not certain if the Amlac photocopied the documents.

The BSP, meanwhile, denied leaking Corona's bank records, saying that the audit was part of a regular examination of the bank.

"[BSP examiners] never requested to see the deposit account records of the Chief Justice nor were they presented the deposit accounts of the Chief Justice," the central bank said.

"BSP examiners therefore could not have copied nor secured copies of such deposit account records including the signature cards of Chief Justice Renato Corona," it added.

Amlac also denied auditing Corona's records.