'Euro general' caught with 105,000 euros in cash fined P200,000 for violating BSP circular

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 07 2022 04:23 PM

The Sandiganbayan building in Quezon City on February 19, 2020 Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
The Sandiganbayan building in Quezon City on February 19, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Former Philippine National Police comptroller Eliseo Dela Paz, one of the so-called "euro generals" caught with thousands of euros at a Moscow airport, has been found guilty of violating a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas circular.

In the decision of the Sandiganbayan 4th Division promulgated Friday, Dela Paz was ordered to pay a fine of P200,000, the maximum penalty for violation of BSP Circular No. 507 in relation to Section 36 of Republic Act No. 7653 or The New Central Bank Act.

BSP Circular No. 507 requires those bringing into or out of the Philippines any foreign currency exceeding an equivalent of US$10,000 to declare it before the Bureau of Customs.

"The court hereby imposes a penalty or fine in the amount of P200,000," the court said in the decision read by the clerk of court during the promulgation.

In 2008, Dela Paz and his wife Maria Fe, as well as other police officials, went to St. Petersburg in Russia for the 77th Interpol General Assembly.

Dela Paz was detained at the Moscow International Airport for carrying 105,000 euros—an amount beyond the airport’s outbound cash limit.

He earlier claimed that the money was “cash advance” for “emergency cases” of the PNP delegation that attended the Interpol Summit at St. Petersburg. Then Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, meanwhile, said that he did not authorize the release of the funds but said the money was contingency fund for the group.

The Sandiganbayan clerk of court only read the dispositive portion of the decision, penned by Division Chairperson Michael Frederick Musngi, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Lorifel Pahimna and Edgardo Jacinto.

The court also ordered that the cash bond of Dela Paz amounting to P20,000 be retained pending his payment of the fine imposed.

Dela Paz's wife, meantime, was acquitted because of the "failure of the prosecution to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt."