Who is afraid of the lifting of the Bank Secrecy Law?

Yes, indeed, who?
Those who are afraid to be investigated!
Of the people to be investigated, who are truly fearful of the lifting of the bank secrecy law? Well, those who have something to hide!

And among those with things to hide, who will stubbornly oppose and reject the lifting of the bank secrecy law? Those who are hiding crimes!

Where in the world is there a law on bank secrecy? Only in the Philippines, Lebanon and Switzerland.

In recent years even the Swiss have yielded their bank secrecy law by turning over billions kept in their banks by corrupt politicians and despots.

And there is no such law even in places where foreign and local investments flourish from year to year: Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, United States of America, and countless other countries!

Who among our Presidents brought back to life and added awesome teeth to this bank secrecy law?

President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos.

And how and when did he do this? He issued the Presidential Decree in 1981 during the era of martial law.

Let me ask again: Who are the people afraid of the Bank Secrecy Law? Drug lords, illegal arms lords, jueteng lords, smuggling lords, kidnapping lords — people with crimes to hide.

And then look around you in the halls of Congress. You will see President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos in those with fearful faces. Even in the faces of those who wear the yellow color standard!

When the bank secrecy law is finally lifted off the face of the Philippines, I know then that Filipinos will begin to be truly free. But until then how are we to distinguish the lords of drugs, smuggling, jueteng and illegal arms from these fearful lords in Congress, the Courts of Justice and the Executive Branch?

I salute President Nonoy Aquino for his initiative in drafting the law for approval of Congress. Such initiative shows his innate sincerity and dedication to the elimination of corruption in government.

But, alas, his timing is off. Can President Aquino still muster the strength to get the law enacted even as his presidency is winding down? If he does, then truly this will be his most tangible legacy to the elimination of corruption in Philippine society.

In this coming election, candidates will be parading themselves before you, asking for your votes. Ask every candidate in turn this question and know him by heart with his answer: Are you in favor of the lifting of the Bank Secrecy Law and will you help get it enacted? Or are you also afraid?

Their answer is the litmus test of their sincerity, their commitment to serve and their abhorrence of corruption in the Philippines.

Aurelio O. Angeles is member of Management Association of the Philippines and of the FINEX and the author of a book, The Peso Exchange Rate: Why Are We So Poor?

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