BSP to probe cash, checks found in Marawi house

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will help determine the source of the cash and checks amounting to nearly P80 million found by government forces in an abandoned house in Marawi City.

BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr, also the incoming BSP chief, told reporters that experts from the central bank could scrutinize the banknotes and checks.

"You have to first look at the physical evidence. We have experts who can do that so it has to be looked into. It might be very premature to comment," he added.

On Monday, June 5, the Philippine Marines recovered P52.2 million in cash as well as checks amounting to P27 million after a successful clearing operation in a house previously controlled by Maute Group terrorists.

According to Espenilla, markings on the banknotes would help trace the source of the funds.

"I guess it all depends on the markings that are available. Maybe perhaps where it was sourced from, it could be indicative," he said.

Espenilla also pointed out that bank deposits and withdrawals which are P500,000 or more must be in transaction reports by financial institutions.

"These are for regulated financial institutions and other covered parties. I don't know what would be the issue here because these are in the possession of elements who are not covered institutions then they won't be reporting that," Espenilla said.

The contents of the checks would have to be looked into as well.

"Checks are basically instruments of payment to people that is why it is difficult to comment on it without seeing what is out there in terms of documents or currencies," Espenilla said.

The clashes in Marawi City have entered the 3rd week. Hundreds of civilians remained trapped on Tuesday, June 6. (READ: Hundreds still trapped in Marawi as crisis enters 3rd week– with a report from Carmela Fonbuena / Rappler.com