April 29, 2016

EPAL MOVES: The Insipidly Melodramatic Mar Roxas Bank Secrecy Waiver

In an obvious attempt to capitalize on the Duterte-Trillanes Bangkoserye , Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II released a bank secrecy waiver today.

The waiver reads:


I, MAR ROXAS, Filipino citizen, married, and a resident of Barangay Baybay, Roxas City, Capiz, with Metro Manila address at 157 P. Tuazon St., Cubao, Quezon City, after having been duly sworn in accordance with the law, do hereby depose and state that:

I have always been an advocate of transparency, especially in public service

I have nothing to hide.

As a private citizen, I am under no legal obligation to execute this document.

However, as a candidate for President of the Republic of the Philippines, I want to prove that I am fully worthy of the people’s trust.

Based on these principles, and for the duration of my candidacy, I hereby do the following acts: (a) Authorize the Ombudsman and or his/her duly authorized representative to obtain and secure from all appropriate government agencies, including the Bureau of Internal Revenue, such documents that may show my assets, liabilities, net worth, business interest, and financial connections; and (b) Waive in favor of the ombudsman all my rights and privileges to bank secrecy under the Bank Secrecy Law and it shall cover all banks.

This Affidavit of Transparency shall cover all previous years to include the year I first assumed office in government.



At first glance, the reader would probably say something like, “Wow, he has balls!”. However, a closer look at the text shows some glaring issues. Let’s list them one by one.

1: Why a nickname?

Unless he uses “Mar Roxas” as the account holder’s name in his financial transactions, this entire document is worth nothing, as it will apply only to transactions or accounts that are named under “Mar Roxas”. Besides, Roxas used his passport for notarization, so does that mean that his name, as it appears on his passport, is “Mar Roxas”? I doubt it.

2: Why the drama?

This is just to add drama in a desperate attempt to earn electoral pogi points. I am sure that his most rabid supporters are drooling over the “magnificence” of this document, but let me just give you a shot of reality: THIS IS JUST TOO MUCH DRAMA.

3: Why just the ombudsman?

RA 6770 or the Ombudsman Law Section 13 states that the Ombudsman’s mandate is to “act promptly on complaints … against officers or employees of the Government. [OMB]”

Roxas has been a private citizen since 03 August 2015 after he resigned from the DILG [Inquirer]. Thus, all transactions made after that time are not within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

4: Why not allow private parties?

The ombudsman can access his bank accounts only after the ombudsman decides to investigate on a complaint. How can someone complain when one doesn’t even have access to what one will be complaining about? Should complainants do the same thing Trillanes did, which is a violation the Bank Secrecy Act?

5: Why just “for the the duration of… candidacy”?

Roxas added the condition that the waiver is valid only for the duration of Roxas’ candidacy.

If he loses on election day, then the Ombudsman has only 6 working days to receive a complaint and act on it. Every prosecutor for the Ombudsman handles around 100 cases [Tadem 2009, p. 186], so how in the hell can we expect them to act on a Roxas case in just 6 days? Add the fact that Roxas happens to be the administration’s standard bearer?

If, by some god-forsaken miracle, he wins on election day, he becomes the President and will thus enjoy immunity from lawsuit. The best that the Ombudsman can do is recommend impeachment. But wait! Congress is LP-dominated, Senate is LP-dominated. How in the hell can he be impeached?

6: Why not list down your bank accounts?

Remember, we only have six glorious days to pin Roxas down using this document. With that kind of timeframe, where would we start? That’s finding a needle in a haystack in the middle of night. Moron.

7: Why exclude August 2015 to present?

The waiver states it will “cover all previous years to include the year I first assumed office in government.” Since Roxas left government in 03 August 2015, this waiver de facto excludes anything after that date, essentially excluding transactions related to campaign spending.

8: Why not include Korina and corporate accounts?

The waiver affects Mar’s accounts, but not Korina’s, and surely not the bank accounts owned by companies that he owns or controls. How easy would it be to just transfer all your money to your wife or to a dummy company – like what Erap did – to make it appear that everythings a-ok?

9: Why not include offshore accounts? 

Politicians are known to have offshore bank accounts, which are immune to Philippine lawsuits. For example, it has been reported that Sen. JV Ejercito and Gov. Imee Marcos stashed their dollars in Panamanian offshore accounts [PhilStar].

10: Why just now?

Duterte asked you to sign a pledge to issue a waiver during the Visayas Presidential debates. It appears that it was not even a waiver: just a promise to sign a waiver. But you didn’t. Why just now? Because you already had ample time to launder your funds?

Mister Roxas, the waiver you issued is nothing but an EPAL move. It has zero legal weight. It is no more useful than a roll of toilet paper -- and it's not even hypoallergenic.

That waiver is sheer schadenfreude-induced political opportunism, which is something you're historically good at.

And even if it was admissible and useful, would you seriously think that people will support you?

Will people support a Mar Roxas who…
…connives with illegal miners [TP:Campaign Planes]…
…ignores military-led Lumad killings [TP: Soldiers]…
…mislead diplomats using fake credentials [TP: US Ambassador]…
…takes credit for things he didn’t do [TP: Cheaper Meds]…
…fudges critical government statistics [TP: Lambat-Sibat]
…coddles pedophiles [TP: Jalosjos]…
…resorts to red-baiting to mask his incompetence [TP: NPA]…
…politicizes apolitical events [TP: Hong Kong]…
…uses taxpayer money for his campaign [TP: Taxpayer]…
…trains his son to become a hypocrite [TP: Paolo Roxas]…
…maintains an online army of trolls to distort public opinion [TP: Internet Army]…
…benefits from electoral cheating [TP: ARMM]…
…pads his resume [TP: Investment Banker]?
And most importantly…

Will people support a Mar Roxas who misquotes Batman?

Not today, Satan, not today.

If you really are transparent and people will see you for what you really are, I can bet that they would regret it and wish that they would just go blind.

I'd rather be invaded by body lice than have you as my president. (TP)

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