November 28, 2022

A BILL filed at the House of Representatives seeks to exclude government officials and employees from the Bank Secrecy Law’s ban on the inquiry into bank deposits.

Under the law, bank deposits, including investments in government bonds, are confidential and may not be looked into.

The exceptions are when the depositor allows it, or when the depositor is involved in cases of impeachment, bribery cases, or dereliction of duty of public officials, or if the money deposited is the subject of litigation.

House Bill 4060, filed by Quezon City First District Rep. Juan Carlos “Arjo” Atayde on August 24, seeks to amend Section 2 of the law by introducing another exemption.

If the bill is passed into law, bank deposits may not be looked into except on the above-mentioned grounds “or when the depositor holds any public office in” the Philippine government.

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The proposed exemption covers those holding public office “whether at the national or local level, by virtue of an appointment, election or contract, in any state-owned or -controlled corporation or enterprise, permanent or temporary, whether in the career or non-career service, including those in the military service, whether civilian or uniformed personnel and those in the police force.”

The amendment includes a provision stating that “the exemptions above-mentioned shall include foreign currency deposits” in “Philippine banks operating in the Philippines, foreign and off-shore banks operating in the Philippines, and such other kind of deposit substitutes.”

A similar bill is pending in the Senate.