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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, April 25, 2015
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Bizman filing appeal
vs. BPI case ruling

Businessman Joe Marie Sy yesterday said he is filing an appeal to the dismissal by the Bacolod City prosecutor of his complaint for qualified theft through falsification of a commercial document against three employees of the Bank of the Philippines Islands.

“I am very disappointed with the way the justice system works in our country,” Sy said, adding that one of the causes of the death of his mother was his case with BPI.

Sy said he informed the Department of Justice yesterday about the dismissal of his complaint. “We are also filing a case through the Regional Prosecutor and the Solicitor General. Administrative charges will also be filed through the Central Bank,” he added.

The businessman was reacting to the dismissal by the Bacolod City Prosecutor's Office of a complaint he filed against BPI Libertad Branch manager Mario Aguirre, assistant manager Chatalina Milagros Luciano and teller Jose Erwin Mori for cashing a P2 million BPI check in his name on Jan. 2, 2010.

The prosecutor noted that the P2 million check is only one of more than a hundred questionable checks that are the subject of Criminal Case 14-14339, titled Joe Marie Sy versus BPI, pending before the Regional Trial Court of Negros Occidental for damages.

Sy alleged that, sometime in July 2013, when he was issued by BPI, through the intervention of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, machine copies of the checks he allegedly issued, he noticed that the check that is the subject matter of the complaint was presented for payment before BPI –Libertad Branch Bacolod on Jan. 4, 2010.

Appearing on the face of the check, he said, were the signatures of Aguirre and Luciano, and the teller at the time was Mori. As a result, P2 million was debited from his BPI account, Sy said.

Sy alleged that the check was forged because he did not issue, sign or endorse it, and did not appear before the BPI Libertad Branch to encash it.

He said he was surprised at the Bacolod City Prosecutor's resolution that was published in the DAILY STAR yesterday when he received a call from one of his classmates, followed by his lawyer and other colleagues and relatives.

“I never received any official statement from the Hall of Justice regarding the case I filed against the three employees of BPI. The criminal case was filed sometime in July 2014 and I was wondering why it took them so long to decide on my case,” he said.

During the time the case was filed, a series of rebuttals were made by BPI, Sy said, adding that they were”unacceptable answers”.

They said the ID to withdraw the P2 million was not presented since, according to the officers of BPI, this was a trivial matter, Sy said. But all banks require that an ID be presented when withdrawing a huge amount of money, or any amount for that matter, he added.

Sy said he never encashed a P2 million paid-to-cash check on a first banking day of the year. “It is a no-no for us, Chinese to make withdrawals on the first day of the year,” he explained.

He also said BPI did not place a cash breakdown on the back of the check. All banks have cash breakdowns for the teller to reconcile the transactions made from their respective counters for that particular day, he added.

The bank has also not presented the original check, he added.

“The cash was given after two hours, based on the machine validation made by the bank. I was a Gold Card Member and the maximum time I must wait for that withdrawal should be 15 to 20 minutes,” Sy pointed out.

Sy also said he could have called the bank to prepare the P2 million since he was withdrawing that amount for that day.

“I also asked them why should I make a paid-to-cash check to myself when, in fact, I could have used a withdrawal slip,” Sy said.

Sy said he challenged BPI to produce the CCTV footage for the day he was supposed to have encashed the check and he would drop all the cases filed against the bank.

“We were told by their lawyer that I must locate it for myself. And it was impossible for a bank to delete the footage since Central Bank rules and regulations stipulate that all banks must have a CCTV camera and (footages) should not be deleted before five years,” he said.

The bank said the CCTV video was no longer available since he complained nearly four years after the incident, the prosecutor noted in his ruling.*CPG



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