(Updated 2:14 p.m.)
- After overwhelming opposition, the Commission on Elections has softened its cash crackdown. The Comelec is now giving bank tellers and officials the discretion to allow clients to withdraw P100,000 or more. The new instruction enables Comelec to save face, as its original order to the banking industry for a cap on cash withdrawals was in danger of being totally ignored.
In Supplement Resolution 9866-A released Thursday, which clarifies and amends a portion of the resolution earlier issued, Comelec exempts withdrawals, which to the determination of the bank, are routine, regular and made in the ordinary course of business of the withdrawing client.
It is consistent with the prevailing “Know-Your-Client/Customer” policy of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas requiring banks “not only to establish the identity of their clients but also to have background knowledge of their normal business transactions, the poll body said.
In an interview with reporters Thursday, Elections chief Sixto Brillantes Jr. acknowledged banks knew who their customers are.
“Alam nila kung sino ang customer nila na regular na nagwi-withdraw ng P100,000 at kung sino yung hindi,” Brillantes said.
Comelec also clarified that the possession, transportation and/or carrying of cash exceeding P500,000 or its equivalent in any foreign currency from May 8 to 13, 2013 “shall be presumed for the purpose of vote-buying and electoral fraud when the same is without tenable justification or whenever attended by a genuine reason which can engender a belief that the money will be used for the purpose of vote buying.”
The supplement resolution also states that Comelec checkpoints should be done in a manner which will impose minimum inconvenience upon the person or persons being searched so as not to violate his or their rights.
Warrantless search, however, can be made when a searching officer sees in plain view that there is cash more than P500,000 inside the vehicle or when the occupant or occupants of the vehicle appear to be nervous or suspicious or exhibit unnatural reaction.
There can also be warrantless search if the officer conducting the search has reasonable or probable cause to believe that either the occupant/s is a law offender or that the instrumentality or evidence pertaining to the commission of a crime can be found in the vehicle to be searched.
Also if there is prior confidential information which will be reasonably corroborated by other attendant matters, a warrantless arrest can be made.
The poll body earlier promulgated Resolution 9688, which prohibits cash withdrawals of more than P100,000 in a single day and carrying cash exceeding P500,000.