Enrile moves to hold BSP bank examiner in contempt for ‘lying’

March 2, 2012 10:24 am 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, March 1 — A day after the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, cited a private prosecutor in contempt for disrespecting a senator-judge, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile moved on Thursday to hold in contempt a bank examiner of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for “obviously lying” in a committee hearing on the leaked bank documents of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Actually, Enrile asked twice the Senate committee on banks to cite BSP bank examiner Jerry Leal for lying when the latter seemingly avoided to answer directly the questions of the senators in connection with the conduct of the BSP examination of the chief magistrate's bank accounts in the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank).

"Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a motion to cite Mr. Leal in contempt for lying to this committee," Enrile said.

”He did not tell the truth to this committee and that’s why I was forced to make that motion and I’m going to make him rectify his own error. We have to teach a lesson to the bureaucrats who are toying with our laws. I don’t enjoy this but I’m doing this to protect the people,” Enrile stressed as he explained his motion.

However, committee chairman Senator Serge Osmena III decided to give Leal a chance to explain and show cause why he should not be cited in contempt.

The committee also requested BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. to conduct their own investigation on the "leaked" documents and submit the full report to the committee on banks on Monday.

Enrile said Leal was caught lying to the Senate when he strongly insisted he did not request for a copy of Corona’s signature card.

Osmena also believed that Leal was “obviously caught lying” by the committee.

”He tried to avoid admitting that he received copies of the signature cards of five depositors, including that of Chief Justice Corona. It was only today that he admitted that he saw a copy of the signature card but he left the machine copy. He won’t admit that he brought a copy with him outside the bank,” Osmena said in a media interview after the hearing.

PSBank president Pascual Garcia III, on the other hand, was consistent with his claim that the BSP examiners, particularly Leal, asked PSBank compliance officer Grace dela Cruz on November 24, 2010 to prepare the list of eight accounts, including those of Corona.

”We submitted (the documents) on November 25, 2010 during the exit conference. It was not returned because it was indicated in the report that the documents were turned over to Mr. Leal by our compliance officer,” Garcia told the committee.

Garcia said the additional eight documents that include Corona’s signature card were not part of the 112 sample accounts first submitted for audit of the BSP bank examiners.

It was the second public hearing on the real source of the leaked Corona bank documents that the prosecution attached in its request for supplemental subpoena on Corona’s bank accounts, including dollar deposits.

House prosecutor Rep. Reynaldo Umali claimed a "small lady" provided the documents to him, while Rep. Jorge Banal found his own copy of the documents near the gate of his house.

If the majority members of the Senate committee on banks decide to cite Leal in contempt, the BSP bank examiner will be detained in the Senate building until he rectifies his statement.

Enrile said Leal will have two remedies to ponder if ever the Senate decides to detain him on Monday.

”He has two remedies: tell the truth or appeal for habeas corpus from the Supreme Court,” Enrile said.

On Tuesday next week, the senator-judges will meet in a caucus to decide on what sanction will be imposed on House of Representatives private prosecutor Atty. Vitaliano Aguirre who was cited in contempt last Wednesday for disrespecting Senator-Judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

The private prosecutor said he deliberately covered his ears because he could no longer endure what he termed as "shrill" voice of Santiago who castigated the prosecutors for withdrawing five of their eight articles of impeachment complaint against Corona.

Aguirre reportedly resigned as private prosecutor Thursday but Enrile said the contempt sanction will remain. (PNA) scs/jfm


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