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MANILA, Philippines – The terminated branch manager of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) allegedly involved in the $81-million Bangladesh Bank fund heist has requested for a week-long rest from the Senate investigation, citing the need to “regain her health and balance.”
Through her lawyer Rene Saguisag, Maia Santos-Deguito on Monday, March 28, told the office of Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III that she “may not be available” for the next Senate hearing on Tuesday, March 29.
“She has health problems in a situation full of stress and strain, since last February 9, allegedly of having knowledge that the P4 billion had been moved from banks in New York – scene of the original sin? – to the RCBC Main Office and finally her Jupiter Street branch, where it was remitted to parts of unknown,” Saguisag said in a letter addressed to Guingona, who chairs the Senate blue ribbon committee which is investigating the heist.
During the second Senate hearing last March 17, Deguito requested to be allowed to go to the clinic, saying she wasn’t feeling well.
“She has been – in rapid succession – suspended and now dismissed as branch manager,” the letter read. (READ: RCBC manager: ‘I’d rather release money than get myself killed’)
Last Tuesday, March 22, Deguito and RCBC Jupiter-Makati branch senior customer relations officer Angela Ruth Torres were fired for alleged illegal transactions linked to the $81-million heist.
The letter said Deguito wants to be excused from the Senate inquiry until April 4, after she was “[grilled] by bank officials; forcibly offloaded with her spouse and 10-year-old son from a Japan-bound plane minutes before take-off, her picture splashed on the front pages of every paper; summoned to testify here, and threatened with contempt; interrogated by 10 hardworking senators for two hours in executive session; charged with an offense that carries a maximum penalty of 14 years for each count; and subjected to death threats, and now, jobless, piled and dumped on.”
Filipino-Chinese businessman William Go had said that he would file two more criminal complaints against Deguito and Torres for falsifying documents. The bank manager is also facing a money laundering complaint.
“She begs on bended knees for a respite until after April 4. After which, she commits dutifully to participate in further proceedings, expecting to regain her health and balance by then,” Saguisag said in the letter.
The Senate blue ribbon committee will conduct its third hearing on the multi-million-dollar money-laundering case on Tuesday, after Kim Wong – who was linked to past scandals and now dragged into the Bangladesh Bank fund heist – returns from medical treatment in Singapore. – Rappler.com