February 14, 2012
JINGGOY FILES BILL AMENDING FOREIGN CURRENCY DEPOSIT ACT
Citing recent developments and issues raised on the secrecy of certain bank accounts and the need to promote transparency and accountability in the government, Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada Monday files a bill amending the law governing foreign currency deposits in the country.
Under the Senate Bill 3120, Sen. Estrada introduces amendment to four-decade old Republic Act 6426 to include the "order of an impeachment court or any competent court on cases involving public officials charged with the violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act" as exception to the confidentiality clause of the law.
The amendment further provides that probable cause be established that the foreign currency deposit involved is directly related to the cause of action in the complaint.
RA 6426, otherwise known as "An Act Instituting a Foreign Currency Deposit System in the Philippines," declares that all foreign currency deposits are considered of absolutely confidential nature except upon the written permission of the depositor. Also, the law states that in no instance shall foreign currency deposits be examined, inquired or looked into by any person or government office whether judicial, administrative or legislative, or any other entity.
RA 6426 was approved on April 1974.
"The said law is being used as an excuse and as a refuge to hide alleged illegally acquired wealth of public officials and employees," Sen. Estrada states in the bill's explanatory note.
The measure shall cover all public officials, including those identified as impeachable officers, who may have engaged in corrupt and other criminal activities.
Article XI (Accountability of Public Officers) of the 1987 Constitution provides that the President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office through impeachment.
Moreover, Sen. Estrada states that the bill aims to discourage private individuals who may intend to hide their unlawful deposits by converting their illegal income into foreign currency deposits.
Senate Bill 3120 is referred to Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies for consideration.
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