PingBills | Nowhere to Hide: Lacson Bill Removes Bank Secrecy Act Protection for Gov’t Officials, Employees
July 03, 2019
Government officials and employees who enrich themselves while in office will now have a harder time hiding their ill-gotten wealth, with a bill filed by Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson excluding all public servants from the Bank Secrecy Law.
Lacson’s Senate Bill 26 strips public servants of the “protection” from Republic Act 1405, which prohibits disclosure or inquiry into bank deposits as a general rule.
He noted the Bank Secrecy Act’s provision prohibiting the disclosure of or inquiry to bank deposits has frequently been exploited to “hamper and stall investigations” of government officials and employees suspected of enriching themselves while in public office.
With his bill, he said law enforcement authorities will now have “the tools needed to go after crooks in government.”
Lacson’s bill amends Section 2 of R.A. 1405, to exclude from the protection of the Bank Secrecy Law all depositors who are elective or appointive officials or employees of the government, from the President down to the lowest-ranking employee.
Also covered by the bill are members of the uniformed services, as well as of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs).
R.A. 1405, which was passed as early as 1955, covers “all deposits of whatever nature with banks or banking institutions in the Philippines.”