The primary objective of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is to maintain price stability conducive to a balanced and sustainable economic growth. By virtue of the New Central Bank Act (RA 7653), the BSP performs functions concerning money, banking, and credit, such as liquidity management, issuance of currency, management of foreign reserves, determination of exchange rate policy, lending (as last resort) to banking institutions, and financial supervision. It supervises banks and exercises regulatory powers over non-bank financial institutions with quasi-banking functions.
There is a saying that says, “money is the root of all evil” and I am not surprised why many people resort to unlawful activities just to earn money for a living or to acquire more money than they need. Cloning of credit cards and hacking of accounts are just some of the “modus operandi” of fraudsters.
Back in July, a Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (Metrobank) executive committed fraud against the bank she had been working for over 30 years. Metrobank’s vice president of Corporate Service Unit, Maria Victoria Lopez, has faced charges of qualified theft, falsification, and violation of the General Banking Law. Lopez allegedly funneled at least Php 900 million through a loan facility of a fictitious Universal Robina Corporation (URC) account and had channeled the cash interests into other fake bank accounts. Metrobank could have lost about P2.5 billion from this case of internal fraud.
Metrobank was established in 1962 and is now the second-largest bank in the Philippines, owned by tycoon George Ty. It has not been elaborated in news reports why Lopez, despite being a loyal employee to the company, has allegedly committed such an unlawful act against its employer.
The discovery of alleged existing fake bank accounts is alarming because it implies danger to bank depositors. Hence, I filed House Resolution No. 1143, calling for an investigation on this P900-million Metrobank internal fraud case. I am positive that this inquiry to be conducted by the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries will not only enlighten us about the case, but will also be a wake-up call for the BSP.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, as the regulatory body of all banks in the country, should be more proactive in its functions, particularly in the protection of the depositors and the banking industry as a whole. We entrust our money to the banks and we trust that the banks, most especially the BSP are doing their jobs of protecting our money. The BSP should closely monitor all the activities of the banks and financial institutions to ensure that the money of all depositors are safe and secure.