Ex-DFA chief Yasay arrested over Banco Filipino case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 22)— Former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Perfecto Yasay was arrested Thursday for banking law violations he and other former officials of a now defunct savings bank allegedly committed over a decade ago.

Yasay was taken into custody by officials of the Manila Police District for supposedly violating the Republic Act No. 8791 or the New Central Bank Act.

Police served the arrest warrant at the former top diplomat's Makati residence, citing the case of Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgages Bank officials who allegedly conspired in securing a ₱350-M loan for a real estate company in the early 2000s.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas filed charges against Yasay and nine other people in 2011 for "falsification, grant of illegal loans, and major violations of banking laws, rules and regulations."

The BSP said Banco Filipino approved ₱2.192 billion on "weak and self-serving loans" to its directors, officers, and others; did not collect on a large number of non-performing loans, and doctored its accounting records to hide its true financial conditions to the disadvantage of depositors, creditors, investors, and stockholders.

"Banco Filipino had 177,652 depositors, about 53 percent of whom had deposits of ₱5,000 and below, said the BSP.

No involvement

Yasay confirmed the arrest through his Facebook account, but denied any involvement in the charges.

“To all my friends, allow me to inform you that I am now being arrested from my house by police officers of Manila on the basis of a warrant of arrest issued by the RTC (Regional Trial Court) of Manila Branch 10 for criminal charges that were alleged committed by officials of Banco Filipino from 2003 to 2006, clearly appearing on the face of the Information filed by the prosecutor, when in truth and in fact I joined the Bank only in 2009,” Yasay wrote.

Yasay also shared photos taken by his wife, Cecille, as his mugshot was being taken.

A message from Manila Police District Chief PBGen. Vicente Danao said Yasay was rushed to the Manila Doctors Hospital due to chest pains.

"He will rest overnight at the hospital, with police escorts, if the attending physicain will advise to do so," he said.

This is a developing story.