First, Martial Law closed down my newspaper, the original Manila Times, in 1972. Twelve years later, the Central Bank closed down my bank, Banco Filipino, in 1984.
Today, as the big bad wolf answering to the name of Global Crisis waits to gobble up the world’s economies, the successor of the Central Bank has assured us that we’re better off than many other countries. It sounds like Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is talking trust and confidence. It sounds like BSP stands on solid ground. Does it sound like BSP will bow to the Supreme Court and strengthen our faith in the justice system as well as in the ability of our banking system to withstand the shocks of the financial meltdown?
After 25 years of an arduous battle, the High Court has ruled that BSP is the same as CB and therefore must pay BF what it owes in damages for its “arbitrary” closure in 1984. From 92 branches then, it is down to 64, after it was reopened in 1994. From being the biggest savings bank for small people – 3 million of them — its depositors now number fewer than 300,000.
Here is a golden opportunity for Bangko Sentral to show that not only does it have money in these wobbly times – what a boost to the market as a confidence builder – but also to manifest its submission to the will of the highest court, the court of last resort. BF claims that BSP should pay P18.8 billion in damages plus 12 percent annual interest, the amount arrived at by a numbers cruncher affiliated with the Asian Institute of Management.
Does BSP have that kind of money? Gov. Amando Tetangco, whose smart, good-looking wife is the daughter of a justice, could do us all a world and a wealth of good by complying with the Supreme Court’s finding that after “a long delay” – 10 years between closing and reopening — it is time for the private bank to be given “full and complete relief.”
Author: Jullie Yap Daza