COMMENT: Corona Defies Ombudsman’s Order to Reveal US Dollar Accounts

No Corona reply for Ombudsman – [Philippine Daily Inquirer, http://www.inquirer.net/, May 2, 2012]

Chief Justice Renato Corona’s lawyers won’t say if the country’s embattled top jurist will comply with the order issued by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on April 20 directing him to explain his alleged US$10 million in bank deposits.

COMMENT by OFWs in Hong Kong editor/blogger: Corona’s defiance of the Ombudsman’s order to disclose his US dollar deposits, as well as a similar request by the Senate impeachment court, is truly deplorable.

His defiance amounts to grave injustice to the Filipino people who expect their most senior officials to be cleaner than white, especially in matters relating to suspected ill-gotten wealth.

The bank secrecy law relating to foreign exchange deposits, which enable people with suspected ill gotten wealth like Corona, to put potentially dirty money beyond the long arm of the law should be immediately amended or changed.

Why should the government allow crooks in government and even criminals to hide proceeds of their crimes and put them beyond the reach of the law enforcement agencies?

Why can’t they be prosecuted for amassing ill gotten wealth because of this illogical law which makes a big mockery of our rule of law?

We’re a laughing stock of the whole wide world for having a detestable law which allows criminals to hide the proceeds of their crimes.

The executive branch should mobilize its allies in the House of Representatives and the Senate to immediately draft amendments to this bank secrecy law and have the existing law changed sooner than later.

Those who won’t support this amendment which is for the good of the whole country should be deprived of their pork barrels. These pork barrels are huge amounts of taxpayers’ monies the bulk of which go to the pockets anyway of congressmen and senators, not to worthy public works projects.

So, if there are congressmen or senators who can’t or won’t support boosting the fight against crooks who hide forex loot, then deprive them of their pork barrel. Let’s call a spade a spade in this issue.

An amended forex bank secrecy law should necessarily prescribe jail terms to violators to ensure its deterrent effect. It should also provide for an immediate freeze of suspected ill-gotten wealth and their forfeiture in favor of the government in case of failure to properly explain how they were accumulated. It should also have a 5- or 10-year retroactive provision.

Why these harsh provisions?

To avoid big-time suspected crooks like GMA, Corona, Jocjoc Bolante and others even in PNoy’s administration from enjoying their loot in their retirement.

The momentum against grafters is now strong and time is of the essence to further bolster the fight against corruption.

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