JOSEPH VICTOR G. EJERCITO
SANDIGANBAYAN (Special Division) and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES FACTS:
The Special Prosecution Panel requested the Sandiganbayan to issue subpoena duces tecum against the Urban Bank relative to the case against President Joseph Estrada and Equitable-PCI Bank to produce statements of account pertaining to certain accounts in the name of "Jose Velarde". The Sandiganbayan granted both requests and subpoenas were issued. Upon learning the same through the media, as he alleged, he filed a motion to quash petitioner claiming that his bank accounts are covered by R.A. No. 1405 (The Secrecy of Bank Deposits Law) and do not fall under any of the exceptions stated therein. He further claimed that the specific identification of documents in the questioned subpoenas, including details on dates and amounts, could only have been made possible by an earlier illegal disclosure thereof by the EIB and the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) in its capacity as receiver of the then Urban Bank. The disclosure being illegal, petitioner concluded, the prosecution in the case may not be allowed to make use of the information. The Sandiganbayan issued a resolution denying p
etitioner’s Motion to Quash
Subpoenae Duces Tecum/Ad Testificandum. And compliance thereof Ms. Dela Paz, receiver of the Urban Bank, furnished the Office of the Ombudsman certified copies of manager checks detailed in the subpoena duces tecum. However, he claims that the subpoenas are invalid because they directed to his trust accounts are not wi
thin the purview of R. A. 1405 since the term “deposit” does not include
trust account. Therefore excepted from inquiry. Ejercito further claims that the subpoenas issued by the Sandiganbayan are invalid and may not be enforced, petitioner contends, as earlier stated, that the information found therein, given their "extremely detailed" character, could only have been obtained by the Special Prosecution Panel through an illegal disclosure by the bank officials concerned. Petitioner thus claims that, following the "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine, the subpoenas must be quashed.
Whether or not trust accounts are not covered from the protection of Bank Secrecy Law.
The contention that trust accounts are not covered by the term "deposits," as used in R.A. 1405, by the mere fact that they do not entail a creditor-debtor relationship between the trustor and the bank, does not lie. An examination of the law shows that the term "deposits" used therein is to be understood broadly and not limited only to accounts which give rise to a creditor-debtor relationship between the depositor and the bank. SECTION 2.
All deposits of whatever nature
with banks or banking institutions in the Philippines including investments in bonds issued by the Government of the Philippines, its political subdivisions and its instrumentalities, are hereby considered as of an absolutely