Court blocks opening of Luy’s bank accounts

Buena Bernal

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Court blocks opening of Luy’s bank accounts
The Sandiganbyan says the subpoena on state witness Benhur Luy's bank records violates the bank secrecy law
OATH. State witness Benhur Luy takes his oath before the anti-graft court Sanidganbayan. File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan granted a move to quash a subpoena ordering the disclosure in court of records of at least 19 bank accounts of state whistleblower Benhur Luy.

In a resolution promulgated on Thursday, August 28, the Sandiganbayan 1st division said the disclosure would invade the privacy rights of Luy.

The court resolved that the cases involving the massive misuse of lawmakers Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) does not warrant the unnecessary impeding of individual rights. 

“The magnitude and intricacies of the PDAF scam and the public interest it involves do not give the Court a blanket license to indiscriminately seize every opportunity presented that will possibly unveil its authors and participants, without regard to the rights of others,” the resolution read.

The court likewise resolved that the subpoena violated the bank secrecy law, which upholds the confidentiality of bank customer information.

While there are exceptions to the protection granted by the law, the court resolved that these exceptions do not apply to the issue at hand.

These exceptions include the following conditions: when the depositor issues a written permission for the disclosure; when it is related to an impeachment case; when the examination of bank accounts is upon order of a competent court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials; and when “the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of the litigation.”

The court’s 1st division on July 22 issued a subpoena duces tecum and ad testificandum, likewise ordering bank representatives to testify in court about Luy’s accounts. (READ: Sandigan to banks: Testify on Luy’s 19 counts)

The defense team also asked the court to subpoena Luy’s other bank accounts and travel records. (READ: Luy’s travel records, more bank accounts sought in court)

But Luy’s camp assailed the court order, saying it was tantamount to harassment. (READ: Luy assails court order to open bank accounts)

(Read the full court resolution below.)

Sandiganbayan Resolution SB-14-CRM-0240


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