MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 6:13PM) In an unprecedented move - and against Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas wishes - the Commission on Elections has put caps on the withdrawal of and transport of cash starting Thursday, May 8 until May 13, saying the curbs will help prevent vote-buying.
Comelec released Tuesday afternoon Resolution 9688 prohibiting the transporting and possession of P500,000 in cash. “We want to regulate the unusual possession and transporting of cash,” Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., told reporters.
He said the resolution, passed by a 7-0 vote of commissioners, also prohibits cash withdrawals from banks and other financial institutions beyond P100,000 daily.
However, the resolution exempts withdrawals above 100,000 by other means such as checks and wire transfer.
Comelec's Resolution no. 9688 prohibits "the withdrawal of cash, encashment of checks and conversion of any monetary instrument into cash...exceeding One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) or its equivalent in any foreign currency, per day in banks, finance companies, quasi-banks, pawnshops, remittance companies and institutions performing similar functions.
However, all other non-cash transactions are not covered."“They should control the withdrawals of cash. [We’re controlling only cash]; it means you can issue as many checks as you like, [with] as big amounts as you would like, but not cash,” he explained.
“Wala namang namimili ng boto ng tseke [After all, no one buys votes with checks],” Brillantes explained.
BSP opposed Comelec move
Brillantes admitted it would be the first time in Philippine history that the restriction is being imposed. He added that it was strongly opposed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as it would restrain trade and industry and potentially violate bank secrecy laws.
“We will not look into the accounts of people but will only seek to control cash withdrawals. “[These are all cash], which means trade and industry, will not be affected,” Brillantes said.
But, Brillantes admitted that there would be issues raised on the transporting and possession of P500,000 cash.
He conceded, “It is possible they will not follow us,” but stressed that the main objective of the resolution was to deter vote- buying by controlling the flow of money coming from banks, which is historically high during the election period.-
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