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RA 1405 LAW ON SECRECY OF BANK DEPOSITS

are hereby considered as of an absolutely confidential nature and may not be examined.

Except 1) when the examination is made in the course of a special or general examination of a bank and
is specifically authorized by the Monetary Board after being satisfied that there is reasonable ground to
believe that a bank fraud or serious irregularity has been or is being committed and that it is necessary
to look into the deposit to establish such fraud or irregularity,

2) or when the examination is made by an independent auditor hired by the bank to conduct its
regular audit provided that the examination is for audit purposes only and the results thereof shall be
for the exclusive use of the bank, or upon written permission of the depositor,

3)or in cases of impeachment, or upon order of a competent court in cases of bribery or


dereliction of duty of public officials, or in cases where the money deposited or invested is the
subject matter of the litigation.

EJERCITO V. SANDIGANBAYAN

Estrada filed a Motion to Quash the subpoenas claiming that his bank accounts are covered by R.A. No.
1405 (The Secrecy of Bank Deposits Law) and do not fall under any of the exceptions stated therein.

2. Are the Trust and Savings Accounts of Estrada excepted from the protection of the Bank Secrecy Law?

YES. The protection afforded by the law is, however, not absolute, there being recognized exceptions
thereto, as abovequoted Section 2 provides. In the present case, two exceptions apply, to wit: (1) the
examination of bank accounts is upon order of a competent court in cases of bribery or dereliction of
duty of public officials, and (2) the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of the litigation.

Estrada contends that since plunder is neither bribery nor dereliction of duty, his accounts are not
excepted from the protection of R.A. 1405. He is wrong. Cases of unexplained wealth are similar to cases
of bribery or dereliction of duty and no reason is seen why these two classes of cases cannot be
excepted from the rule making bank deposits confidential. In sum, exception (1) applies since the
plunder case pending against former President Estrada is analogous to bribery or dereliction of duty,
while exception (2) applies because the money deposited in petitioner’s bank accounts is said to form
part of the subject matter of the same plunder case.

3. Does the fruit of poisonous tree principle apply?

NO. The “fruit of the poisonous tree” principle, which states that once the primary source (the “tree”) is
shown to have been unlawfully obtained, any secondary or derivative evidence (the “fruit”) derived
from it is also inadmissible, does not apply in this case. In the first place, R.A. 1405 does not provide for
the application of this rule. R.A. 1405, it bears noting, nowhere provides that an unlawful examination of
bank accounts shall render the evidence obtained therefrom inadmissible in evidence. Moreover, there
is no basis for applying the same in this case since the primary source for the detailed information
regarding petitioner’s bank accounts—the investigation previously conducted by the Ombudsman—was
lawful.

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