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9 August 2014.

Dear Friends,

This is just a friendly advice. We have had ATM Scam and Credit Cards scam which banks
will usually disclaim responsibility. Now this is scary! The personal experience I am narrating
here has taught me that just like the requirement that most central banks imposed on
commercials banks to know their customers in the light of money-laundering and tax evasion,
I now believe we as consumer should also know who we bank with. Big banks seem to think
they can easily seek accommodation with prosecutors.

Be extremely careful with whom you bank with, at least in the Philippines. Some banks will
pry open your bank account, in violation of the Bank Secrecy Law (which in most countries
like the Philippines is a crime). But that is not the only problem. You will have to contend with
Prosecutors who will give ''accommodation" to officials of these Banks and rule that no crime
was committed! Can you believe this?? Let me explain in greater detail my experience with a
banking giant Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (Philippines), who pried open my
banks account. I file a case against the bank and its counsel with Olongapo Prosecutor's
Office. These 'smart Alexes' ruled that no crime was committed. I filed an MR some months
back, just to remind the Prosecutors of the severity of the crime and also to let her know that
such decision can lead to a loss of confidence of the banking system. Know what? These
'smart Alexes' affirmed their decision that no crime was committed, disregarding R.A. 1405
and R.A. 6426, even when the bank and the legal counsel admitted that the certification on
the details of my accounts was never issued by the Vice-President, Network Services, as they
first alleged but by someone in the office as the VP was on leave! I got this piece of news
while I was in Malaysia, mourning the loss of my mother. I had to rush back to file a Petition
For Review for which I managed to do yesterday.

What is funny about this entire episode is that the City Prosecutor acted with grave abuse of
authority and discretion and in gross ignorance of the law in conducting an investigation as if
it were a trial on erroneous application of the laws and facts, such as Art. 11 paragraph 5 of
the Revised penal Code of the Philippines. What is interesting is that the Respondent (Legal
Counsel and Compliance Office of HSBC Philippines) did not even invoke the Art 11 of the
Revised Penal Code! Isn't this an obvious act of the City Prosecutor lawyering for
Respondent? Is it proper? And again the funny thing is the application is even misplaced for
Article 11 provides the justifying circumstances that do not incur criminal liability!

Isn't it that the function of the City Prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation "in
determining whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-rounded belief that a crime
has been committed and that the private respondent is probably guilty of". In the evidence I
submitted in my complaint, the Respondent admitted executing a document disclosing both
my peso and dollar deposits without my consent in her counter-affidavit. In addition to this, I
also submitted the sworn answer of the Joel B. Cruz, the Vice-President, denying that the
signature of the certification bearing his name is his as he was on leave on the day
certification was issue. Certainly, his signature was forged. Isn't this more than sufficient
evidence in determining probable cause?

The nation has learned from the Corona impeachment trial a basic lesson on the absolute
confidentiality of bank deposit, more so dollar deposits -- that even the Senate with all its
might could not look into. And here comes a Prosecutor claiming otherwise. It is interesting to
note that the Office of Special Investigation of Bangko Sentral Pilipinas has found probable
cause to charge this counsel of HSBC Philippines for violation of RA. 6426 in a separate
administrative case I filed against the Bank and its legal counsel.

The position taken by the Olongapo Prosecutor is really ridiculous. The City Prosecutor
claimed that the respondents committed no crime because they were just following the order
of the judge. That order requiring disclosure of confidential information is the very act
prohibited by law. How can an illegal act serve as a defense? Isn't this what we call crass
stupidity and gross ignorance of the law?

I like you to share this with others, in the belief that any "accommodation" of Prosecutors with
any banks who pry open our account without our consent and or without the legitimate
reasons as provided under the exception clauses in RA. 1405 and R.A 6426, will not only
violate our privacy, the laws of the country and result in loss of confidence in the banking
system. Also, putting their decision under the limelight of public scrutiny will deter them from
making accommodation.