Press Release
March 1, 2012


Serge: Kanina po, Mr. Leal of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Anti-Money Laundering compliance officer, was obviously caught lying by the committee. This is already the 2nd hearing. Nung 1st hearing halata na rin siya, parang iniiwasan niya, he was avoiding answering questions directly. As a result of which, the Senate President moved to have him cited for contempt. But the committee decided to give him a chance to explain at length and to show cause why the penalty for contempt should not be carried out. In the meantime, we have also requested the BSP to issue a report after a more in-depth investigation of what happened. And we expect that report to be handed to the Senate committee on banks on Monday.

Ngayon, ano pong sinabi ni Leal? He tried to avoid admitting that he received copies of the signature card of 5 depositors, including the signature card of Chief Justice Corona. It was only today that he admitted that he saw a copy of the signature, but he said that he left the machine copy in the office of the PSBank, where he was doing the examination.

So, in view of that, being that all this time he has refused to admit that he saw the signature card, it was today that he admitted that he saw it but he still won't admit that he brought a copy with him outside of the bank.

Q: Clarify lang po. Cited for contempt na si Mr. Leal?

Serge: There is a motion. And the motion will be given to the full committee on Monday. The full committee has to approve it. And we did not have a full complement of membership here today.

Q: Do you share Senate President Enrile's position that there is someone na nagsisinungaling?

Serge: Opo. Mr. Leal was caught lying. Before he said he never saw the signature card, it was never given to him. And today, he admitted that, as claimed by Mr. Garcia of PSBank, opo, pinakita daw sa kanya 'yung machine copy ng signature card ni Chief Justice Corona, ngunit hindi daw niya dinala outside the bank. Right there and then, we already caught him lying.

Q: Para kanino siya nagsisinungaling?

Serge: Hindi ko po alam 'yun. You are asking me to speculate.

Q: Does that establish now that he was the source of the leak of the bank document?

Serge: No, not yet. What was established now was that he was caught lying. It's established that he had seen the signature card. It has not been established that he brought it out with him, but he had access to it. He is the only person, so far, that we have established who had access to the machine copy of the signature card of Chief Justice Corona.

Q: Bakit hindi kayo agad nag-rule kung naniniwala naman pala kayo na nagsisinungaling siya?

Serge: Because we need majority of the entire committee to approve of such a citation for contempt. Nakita niyo naman 5 lang kami dito kanina. So we will furnish them with facts of the case, we will furnish them copies of the transcript, and we will probably call for a meeting Monday or Tuesday.

Q: Anong penalty kung ma-cite siya for contempt?

Serge: Well, he can put in the little stockade downstairs until he tells the truth. He can be made to listen to the speeches of the senators for hours.

Q: Truth means he will point to the source of the leak?

Serge: Kung siya ang source ng leak, kanino niya binigay.

Q: He has to identify kung kanino niya ibinigay?

Serge: Yes. But, right now, we are guessing on some of these conclusions that you want to happen. We have to wait.

Q: Itong nangyayari dito sa committee, how will this affect the integrity of the impeachment trial?

Serge: It will not affect it, in the sense that the accounts have been proven to be true. This is not the fruit of a poisonous tree. 'Yung tawag ng mga abogado diyan, fruit of the poisonous tree dahil illegally seized during an illegal search. It was volunteered by a little lady.

Q: But the fact that this was submitted to the Impeachment Court...?

Serge: Ibang issue iyan. Here, we are investigating the integrity of the examination process of the Bangko Sentral and the probability that one of the members of the examination team was lying but indeed, did have access to the signature card. PSBank President Garcia claimed he furnished a copy of the signature card.

Q: Pero kung na-leak nga siya, hindi ba illegally obtained 'yun?

Serge: Hindi pa naman namin alam if the information was the same one. We've pinpointed one person who had access to it. But there could be several persons also who had access to it. Pipili ka na lang dun, magmi-mini-mini-moe ka kung sino sa kanila 'yun.

Q: So you're saying hindi siya illegally obtained?

Serge: Hindi po. 'Yan po ang interpretation ng mga abogado, that this is not a fruit of a poisonous tree.

Q: But the truth that the bank did not authorize him na mag-produce ng photocopy di ba? Or to bring a copy?

Serge: The bank gave him a copy. Ang sinabi niya, nakuha niya ang kopya niya sa bangko. That was the first time that we heard evidence, an admission, that there was such a machine copy that was available.

Q: Ang magiging result nitong committee hearing puwede bang gamitin sa pagde-decide dun sa pleading nung defense na i-strike out 'yung mga nakuhang...

Serge: Hindi naman fruits of a poisonous tree 'yan eh. But I'll leave that to the lawyers to argue.

If a little lady gave me that, it is not a fruit of the poisonous tree. But if I sent someone to your house to execute, or to carry out the order to search your house without the proper search warrant, that's illegal.

Q: Just to clarify, binigay sa kanya ng PSBank 'yun?

Serge: Oo.

Q: But only for the purpose of that audit?

Serge: Yes, not for any other purpose. To merely to comply with the examination of the bank accounts.

Q: So may liability siya?

Serge: Yes, he would be violating the internal procedures of the Bangko Sentral, where everything has to be made confidential. He is also violating the Bank Secrecy law.

Q: But access is different from actual possession, di ba?

Serge: That is correct. He is in possession but he has not admitted that he gave a copy to anybody. Ang problema niya ay, first he denied that he had possession.

Q: Ang malinaw dun, nagkaroon siya ng kopya, machine copy, may access siya sa signature card, pero hindi niya sinasabi na he brought this out of the bank?

Serge: Sinasabi niya, hindi niya dinala. Hindi nga daw siya gumawa ng kopya.

Q: Pero ngayon nakikita niyo....

Serge: That he was lying. If you are lying in one, you might also be lying on other things. That is a rule that lawyers have.

Q: If it is proven that he leaked the document, what will happen to the photocopies given to the Impeachment Court?

Serge: As far as admissibility is concerned, I am not a lawyer, but I can only repeat what I have heard from other lawyers, that no, this is not going to be regarded as a fruit of a poisonous tree. Now, it is up to them, the prosecutors and the defense counsel, to debate that before the court and for the court to make a determination as to the issue.

Q: Pwede bang i-conclude na tinarget talaga si Chief Justice Corona?

Serge: What you are saying is that you want us to speculate that somebody ordered somebody... I don't think I am qualified to speculate...I am here to just dig the facts.

Q: May pino-protektahan 'yung bank examiner?

Serge: We haven't gotten there yet. Mahirap mag-speculate. It could have been, if he was the source of the copy, he could have volunteered it, di ba?

Q: Bakit kailangan niyang magsinungaling?

Serge: Because it was illegal. Whether he volunteered it or whether he was ordered to do it, it's still illegal. It was a violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, RA 1405.

Q: Illegal kasi binigay niya 'yung kopya?

Serge: Yes. Because under the Bank Secrecy Act, you are not allowed to divulge information about bank accounts.

Q: It's clear that he had access to it, but it is not yet clear if he gave it to anyone?

Serge: Yes, that is correct. It is not clear if he gave it to anyone. It is not clear if he did gave it to anyone, if it was on the orders of anyone or he did it voluntarily and he gave it to a little lady. We don't know.

Q: At what point nagkaroon ng bank secrecy violation?

Serge: When he inspected it, that's not bank secrecy violation. As a matter of fact, there is no bank secrecy violation that we have pinpointed at this time. All we're doing is that we were able to make him admit what he refused to admit before, that he had a machine copy of the signature card of Chief Justice Corona.

Q: 'Yung to whom did he give it?

Serge: If he gave it to anybody, to whom did he give it.

Q: Are you any closer to establishing who leaked the document?

Serge: Well, we were able to find out that somebody had access to machine copy of the signature card because people originally speculated that it might have been leaked by PSBank.

Q: So hindi talaga nanggaling sa bangko 'yun nanggaling?

Serge: You know, logically, it still could have come from the bank. Because the bank has access to the card. And a teller, or an executive there, could have said, 'O eto ang kopya.' It just so happened that this guy was caught lying. That's all.

Q: But they were required to furnish them a machine copy, according to the auditing requirement?

Serge: It's not an auditing requirement. It's enforcement of the Anti-Money Launderintg law.

Q: You asked for a copy of the BSP report. So they have done an investigation on this?

Serge: No, not yet. They will do so now.

Q: Clarification. Kung 'yung sinasabi ba ng PSBank na hindi 'yun totoo....

Serge: 'Yan din ang tinanong ko kanina. Sabi ko, kung hindi totoo 'yan, then there is no leak. Hindi naman nila masagot. What are we talking about? Sabi mo peke iyan. So why are we investigating a fake document? Obviously, that must be a valid document.

Q: Who has the authority na magsabi na fake 'yun?

Serge: Si Mr. Garcia nagsasabi.... Originally, si Ms. Tiongson ang nagsabi niyan during the impeachment trial, that the document seems to be fake. Dun nag-umpisa itong gulo na ito. Then, subsequently, in a subsquent hearing, Mr. Garcia pointed out 42 differences between their copy and the photo machine copy. So, I asked kanina, kung fake ito, why are we investigating its leak? Because it does not exist because it's fake. It does not seem to be fake because they admitted that the, the bank officials admitted kanina, that the information on it are not fake. Kasi they presented all of the balance of the deposits of all those accounts that were listed in the so-called fake document.

Q: So hindi pa cleared ang PSBank?

Serge: You cannot. Logically, the source of the signature card can only come from people who had access to the card. So you cannot say that it did not come from PSBank, at this time. Unless the Bangko Sentral employee says, 'Opo, ako po ang nag-leak.'

Q: May next hearing pa?

Serge: Hindi ko pa alam. We're still hampered by the requirements that we have requested. Plus the impeachment trial itself. I want to consult my members on Tuesday to inquire. And I have to review pa the transcripts of both hearing and find out if there is any information that we might have overlooked.

Q: Nobody cleared yet in this mess except AMLAC?

Serge: Yes.

Q: You said hindi pa ligtas ang PSBank. So may possibility din ba na ma-cite for contempt ang PSBank?

Serge: No. PSBank was not caught lying. It was Mr. Leal.

Q: Ilan ang members ng committee on banks? How many do you need to cite him for contempt?

Serge: That's a good question. I need to check. To convict, majority of ALL the members of the committee.


Q: Si Atty. Aguirre mah-re-resign na siya sa prosecution team....

Serge: Well that's their decision. I am sorry that it had to get to that point. And I am sure that he, personally, feels that he was justified in behaving the way he did. But it was more of an emotional rather than an intellectual exercise. And the Court, as a Court, could not avoid citing him for contempt.

Q: Ano po ang dapat na penalty niya?

Serge: Tama ang suggestion ni Sen. Alan Peter. That he should be made to listen to the speeches of Sen. Santiago for 24 hours. Eh sabi naman ng 1 senador, that's cruel and unusual punishment na. And that's not allowed under the Constitution.

Q: By saying sorry to Sen. Miriam, will that make the Impeachment Court feel better? O gagaan ba ang penalty if he says sorry to Sen. Miriam?

Serge: I will not make any suggestions. The prosecution panel has already apologized for his stunt. Whether he personally feels that he should apologize, that's his own decision. That's past my concern. The prosecution panel, the panel itself, is forgiven.

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