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Cyber theft

RRoy’siPadCyber theft
Ronald Roy — March 31, 2016

Commercial banks are like the locomotive oils and gases of the economy. To that extent, the fuel must be clean, of the right octane, and neither too thin nor too thick. It must be safeguarded against grime and flow malfunctions, just like the banking system should be protected against public distrust arising from, for instance, “cyber thefts”.

At all costs, public trust in our banks must never waver if bank runs, the feared pneumonia of the system, are to be avoided. A bank’s customers should be secure, its officials, officers and personnel efficient and honest, and all our banking laws crafted to best respond to the economy’s need for protective shields and growth. Otherwise, we all return to the days of Robinson Crusoe.

Easing of the BSL
The Anti-Monetary Laundering Council (AMLC), through Its Chairman and concurrent Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor, Amando Tentangco, Jr. has said our very strict “bank secrecy law” (BSL) must be tempered by Congress in order to prevent a repetition of the hacking of a Bangladesh current account in the amount of US $ 81 million that was deposited with the US Federal Reserves Dept. in New York. The money found its way over a month ago into our banking system, principally through the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC).

Before we proceed, please note that the word “heist” is a misnomer in the language of hackers. A heist is a robbery, a crime that is committed with the use of “force upon things” or intimidation, neither of which is an element in theft. Ergo, the generic crime that a hacker commits is theft, not robbery.

Note too that although amending a statute is a commonplace function of lawmakers, theirs is a tightrope act that will require their sharpest skills to avert felonies in the computerized banking system, a relatively new technological environment. However, legislative adjustments will not be enough.

RCBC’s concerns
Unless all the felons in the subject digital theft are brought to justice and until banking systems and procedures are streamlined to facilitate online transactions with appropriate safeguards, our banking system will remain teetering on the edge of bank runs, and this climate of fear, alone, will stall our economic growth.

RCBC has dismissed two hires that include initial suspect Jupiter St. Branch Head Maia Dequito, but will continue its investigation until all involved personnel and officers, if any, are identified and held accountable. A tightrope act would likewise be the determination of the gravity of criminal acts, as well as those that are merely negligent, because any misstep in judgment may prove to be unjustly ruinous to one’s future.

While RCBC President Lorenzo Tan stays on leave to prove his innocence, the bank’s chair, Helen Yuchengco, has lately been running the daily operations of the bank with a heightened investigative eye. She is being assisted by a high-powered three-man ad hoc committee headed by the bank’s vice chairman, Cesar E.A. Virata.

In a crime of this magnitude, there are co-conspirators who must answer to the law. Kim Wong, one of them who has been charged by the NBI, has identified two other Chinese brains obviously in a bid to turn state witness along with a promise to return the amount of US $ 4.6 million. This may be seen by investigators as an opportunity to “break the case wide open”.
Until the subject digital theft happened, the first of its kind if only in sheer magnitude, the BSL had long been considered an imperative — a standard universal safeguard, one might say — that optimizes banking efficiency to the satisfaction of all stakeholders, like bank owners, their hires and customers, and the body politic in general. But online banking is a relatively new technology that has yet to be thoroughly explored for the purpose of maximizing its wonders and minimizing its pitfalls.

Revision of AMLC charter
Some senators are now bent on amending the AMLC law to include casinos in its coverage because, per findings of the ongoing Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings, they are insidious dirty-money washing machines. There’s no question the law must be revised in order to spare the economy from further damage and humiliation.

But, by George, it’s a big wonder why the law’s principal author, former Cong. Teddy Boy Locsin, is kicking up clouds of dust to stop its amendment!As a former lawmaker, Mr. Locsin should know that a law is not owned by its author. We thank him for having crafted the law, but conditions have changed, and the law now needs to be changed.

Debauched playgrounds
Casinos are supposed to boost our tourism industry; but in reality they are businesses that operate as debauched playgrounds for the rich with nary a care for the poor. They are the Devil’s workplaces where money is venerated, addictions are spawned, and families are torn asunder by gambling losses.

09186449517 ronald8roy@yahoo.com
musingsbyroy.wordpress.com @ronald8roy

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