'Fight for justice begins': Ex-foreign affairs chief Yasay posts bail

Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 23 2019 01:53 PM | Updated as of Aug 23 2019 03:31 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Former foreign affairs secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. has posted a P240,000 bail on Friday, a day after he was was arrested due to charges of violating two Philippine Banking laws.

Five other former officers of the defunct Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank are also included in the arrest warrant.

They face one count of violating the General Banking law and three counts of violating the New Central Bank Act.

Police records of the case showed Yasay failed to report to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) the approval of P350 million worth of loans by the Banco Filipino to Tierrasud Incorporated from 2001 to 2009.

Banco Filipino was closed down by the BSP in 2011 following financial problems.

"After posting bail, I now enjoy the status of a provisional free man. Now the fight for justice and to prove my innocence begins," Yasay said in a Facebook post announcing his release from detention.

 

But Yasay once again said he should not have been arrested or charged since the loans were granted before he joined the shuttered bank in 2009 as a board member.

He added the loans were made from 2003 to 2006.

“The information is 2006 insofar as the loan is concerned, from 2003 to 2006. I only joined the bank in 2009,” Yasay told reporters at the Manila City Hall.

“I was never involved in any operations of Banco Filipino. I had to sit for and on behalf of Banco Filipino as the head of the high-level representative delegation in trying to fashion out a rehabilitation plan that the SC mandated the Banco Filipino was supposed to do,” he added.

Yasay asserted that government lawyers should have joined the police in serving him the arrest warrant on Thursday.

The former top diplomat took a swipe at a private lawyer who “pushed his way around” and “said he was representing the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas” during his arrest.

“I was flabbergasted by the fact that when the warrant was sent to my house, the police was accompanied by a private lawyer coming from a private law firm, he said he was representing BSP," he said.

"This lawyer continued on his presence when I was already at the police department. He stood guard there and pushed his weight around to make sure I was imprisoned right away. I found this revolting."

He continued, “BSP is a government agency, represented by various lawyers of the government. It has the OSG, and the Office of the Corporate Counsel. What need is there for the BSP to spend taxpayers’ money? It’s not a small amount.”

Yasay said he had also filed a motion for reconsideration last July 9 to be removed from the case, but the motion remained pending before the justice department.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Friday declined to comment, saying the issue was "pending before court and to do so would violate [the] sub judice rule."

Yasay to remain confined at Manila hospital

Hours after his arrest yesterday, Yasay was rushed to the Manila Doctors Hospital after complaining of chest pains.

Cecile Yasay said her husband’s blood pressure shot up to 160/100.

Yasay was given a pass by the hospital to leave and post bail on Friday morning.

Cecile said that right after posting bail, her husband will have to remain confined at the Manila Doctors Hospital to undergo more vital tests. He will likely be discharged on Sunday or Monday.

Yasay's legal counsel Freidrick Lu added, “He’s no longer going to need police security. Hindi na siya under arrest. He has been granted provisional liberty.”

Asked how he is feeling right now, Yasay answered: “For a 72-year-old, I think I’m healthy, although I’m a cancer survivor. Last night, I underwent severe stress.”

“I’m going back to the hospital because accdg to the doctor, I have showed signs of depletion of electrolytes and potassium. They also wanted to check my heart. (jc) I feel much relieved right now. I hope my condition will stabilize and improve,” Yasay added.