MANILA, Philippines – The sacked Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) branch manager allegedly involved in the $81-million Bangladesh Bank money laundering skipped the third Senate hearing on the stolen funds on Tuesday, March 29, citing health reasons.
A day earlier, Maia Santos-Deguito – through her co-counsel Rene Saguisag –informed the office of Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III that she needed a break from the investigation, citing the need to “regain her health and balance.”
Guingona chairs the Senate blue ribbon committee, which is conducting the probe.
“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.
Angela Torres, Kim Wong present
Meanwhile, sacked RCBC Jupiter-Makati branch senior customer relations officer Angela Ruth Torres is present to unravel more leads in the investigation. Saguisag will represent Deguito.
On March 22, RCBC fired Deguito and Torres for alleged illegal transactions linked to the $81-million Bangladesh bank heist.
The legal counsel of RCBC had said that the bank would file perjury charges against Torres for allegedly lying in an affidavit she submitted to bank officials.
Kim Wong – who was linked to past scandals and now dragged into the Bangladesh Bank fund heist – is also present at the third Senate hearing after he returned from medical treatment in Singapore.
Deguito had said that she first met former RCBC president and CEO Lorenzo Tan in one of the parties hosted by Kim Wong. (READ: RCBC manager: ‘I’d rather release money than get myself killed’)
Tan said he met Wong in his restaurant in 2002, and that had not seen Wong “in more than 10 years.”
But Deguito claimed that Wong and Tan were both present at Jason Go’s birthday party in the last quarter of 2014.
Wong’s name first cropped up during the Estrada administration, when military intelligence tagged him as a drug lord. Under the Arroyo government, former intelligence chief Victor Corpus linked Wong to then Senator Panfilo Lacson.
At the third hearing, the Senate panel is expected to focus on the judgment lapse of RCBC in facilitating the release of the stolen funds, and the role of money transfer firm Philippine Remittance Service Corporation (PhilRem) in the grand money laundering scheme.
Guingona had earlier said that the Senate panel plans to “close the chapter” on the alleged involvement of Filipino-Chinese businessman William Go in the money-laundering scheme during the third hearing. – Rappler.com