Saturday, March 6, 2010

Gibo wants bets' bank accounts bared

By Jaime Laude
The Philippine Star
Updated March 07, 2010
12:00 AM

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines - Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. said yesterday the bank secrecy law should be lifted or at least reviewed in order to unmask financial transactions of politicians suspected to have links to the illegal drug trade.

The US State Department reported that some candidates in the coming national elections are receiving funding from drug syndicates.

“That situation is very dangerous as drug syndicates can easily help a candidate win through their money,” Teodoro said.

He said the country’s bank secrecy laws “were meant to protect the privacy of good individuals, presumably from criminal syndicates,” but the same law has provided a refuge for drug lords and corrupt government officials.

The bank secrecy law, Republic Act 1405, was passed in 1955 and sought to encourage people to deposit their money in a bank and discourage hoarding, a common practice during the Japanese occupation.

The law provides that all deposits with banks and banking institutions are considered to be “absolutely confidential” and “may not be inquired or looked into by any person, subject to some exceptions.” Over the years, other laws have added exceptions to the bank secrecy act.

Teodoro said a possible solution could include stiffer penalties for banks that disclose a depositor’s account to criminals.

He also called on authorities to prosecute politicians linked to the illegal drug trade if they have evidence to pin them down.

He also stressed the need for more training for the country’s drug enforcement agencies to effectively go after drug syndicates, as well as the fine-tuning of laws to stop narco-politics in the Philippines.

Teodoro said providing more funds and better training for law enforcement agencies would minimize the number of cases that do not prosper in court due to procedural lapses by lawmen.

Meanwhile, Teodoro said Central Mindanao and Lanao are fast becoming a major supplier of illegal drugs, citing reports that a number of local government officials are engaged in the illegal drug trade in the region.

Original Story:

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