Bakit manager lang? Mareng Winnie puzzled why 6 RCBC officials were not convicted
Former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Solita “Mareng Winnie”
Monsod’s head is still spinning over the Makati Regional Trial Court’s
decision to convict a former Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. money
laundering of $81-million hacked from the Bangladesh’s central bank 3 years ago.
Monsod said the former RCBC Jupiter branch manager Maia Deguito was a small fry compared to six other RCBC officials charged by government prosecutors.
“Aside from the speed with which the case was decided (it was brought up sometime in 2016, thus fast by the usual standard), Deguito happens to be the low (wo)man on the totem pole relative to the other six RCBC officials charged with the same crime,” said Monsod in her Inquirer column.
“When I was reading about it, the image of a lowly mayor or a postal worker found guilty of maybe P17,000 worth of graft or even P150,000, and thrown the book, such as 30 years in jail, came to mind. It seems they convict the little ones very fast, and the big ones get away,” she added.
Other officials charged in the money laundering case were Raul Victor Tan, RCBC head of retail banking group; Ismael Reyes, national sales director, retail banking group; Brigitte Capina, regional sales director, retail banking group; Nestor Pineda, district sales director; Romualdo Agarrado, customer service head, Jupiter business center; and Angela Ruth Torres, senior customer relations officer, Jupiter business center.
Tan and RCBC President Lorenzo Tan were forced to resign shortly after the scam was uncovered.
Monsod shared the sentiment of Deguito’s lawyer, Demetrio Custodio, who felt that Deguito was made a scapegoat.
“We were pointing out to the court that Maia could not have acted on this because her position at the bank was one of customer care and therefore she had no function that will relate to the operation of banking transactions,” Custodio said.
“I am disheartened to believe that due to the amount involved here, only a very lowly person is prosecuted by the government. There should be more people who should be liable to this other than a very lowly bank officer who had nothing to do with operational matters,” he added.
Monsod said Makati RTC Judge Cesar Untalan handed down the conviction – 4 to 7 years in prison for each of the 8 counts of money laundering and a $109 million fine – was a colleague of the Makati RTC judges Andres Soriano and Elmo Alameda and who issued conflicting decisions on the amnesty application of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV which President Rodrigo Duterte wanted revoked.
“It is an indication of how low the judiciary can sink in this country,” Monsod said.