The Dow Jones guide on Politically Exposed Persons
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-02-21
Senate Impeachment Trial Presiding Officer Juan Ponce-Enrile (JPE) had commented on previous occasions and in yesterday’s session on the term PEP (Politically Exposed Person). PEP was a marking that was inputted in the photocopied bank form that was attached to the now famous Annex A subpoena on the bank records of Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice (CJ) Renato Corona, the impeachment trial respondent.

JPE’s comments on PEP were confirmed in yesterday’s session. PEP appears to be a notation of the audit team of the Central Bank and the AMLC (Anti Money Laundering Council). It’s also this input that JPE might be banking on when he took full responsibility for issuing the subpoena on the CJ’s bank records. From the way he was grilling PSBank (Philippine Savings Bank) Katipunan branch manager Anabelle Tiongson, and president Pascual Garcia III, after Tiongson had previously asserted that the Annex A attached photocopy was a “fake” — it’s evident that JPE believes the differences were incidental and not substantial. 

Ever since PEP was mentioned by JPE, a lot of folks had asked your Chair Wrecker what it was all about and what are the its possible implications to the on-going impeachment trial. The Dow Jones website provides a good guide on what PEP is all about, as follows:

“As the fight against anti-money laundering, terrorism and illicit financing grows more complex, organizations require a better way to identify Politically Exposed Persons. These individuals — senior officials in foreign governments, political parties or government-owned enterprises, along with their relations and associates — represent a higher risk to organizations, especially in the financial world. Organizations must comply with many governmental and corporate regulations concerning the finances of Politically Exposed Persons, in order to protect shareholders and the general public against potential threats. As part of “Know Your Customer” initiatives, organizations around the world have sought tools to better identify Politically Exposed Persons, and Dow Jones Watchlist is fast becoming the most trusted provider.”

“For many of the world’s most powerful financial institutions, Dow Jones Watchlist is the choice to help them guard against inadvertently dealing with Politically Exposed Persons who could be the cause of embarrassment, legal trouble or financial ruin. Dow Jones Watchlist offers the most comprehensive and detailed global coverage of government officials, politicians and people of political influence in every corner of the world. As opposed to other directories, Dow Jones Watchlist also contains data on the relatives and close associates of Politically Exposed Persons, helping to alert organizations to individuals who may require closer scrutiny. Dow Jones’s team of researchers and analysts update a global collection of law enforcement, government sanction lists and other information on a daily basis.”

“Dow Jones Watchlist provides a variety of tools to make it easier to identify Politically Exposed Persons.

• Global Index of more than 500,000 people, including names from every country in the world

• Archive of aliases, name and spelling variations, dates and places of birth, in order to more easily identify suspect individuals
• Directory of relatives and associates makes it easier to identify other individuals for scrutiny

• Country profiles — get information summarizing political, economic and social conditions in countries around the world

• Flexible delivery options — data can be accessed through a variety of research options or via enterprise information integration with internal databases or compliance systems

• 24/7 support — through Dow Jones Customer Support”

How will the PSBank form with the PEP marking affect the impeachment trial? For one, that will tend to debunk the claim of PSBank branch manager Tiongson that the form was a fake. Clearly, this was the obvious drift of JPE’s line of questioning last week when he pressed Tiongson to confirm if the markings were incidental or substantial.

Tiongson answered that it was not the same document that they had in their files because of certain markings that were missing in the bank’s copy. If the mentioned highlight and PEP markings were notations of the monetary authorities — that would mean that JPE was correct. The differences were incidental and not substantial. Ergo, the famous Annex A photocopy is a genuine PSBank transaction form.

That would also expand the search for the source of the leaked document to possibly include our monetary authorities. This however is much easier to explain to the nation than that “little lady” tale of the prosecutors.

Are our monetary authorities authorized to volunteer information relevant to an impeachment trial? If they are, then there’s no barring the information from being shared with the impeachment court. Are the prosecutors prohibited from checking CJ Corona’s status with our monetary authorities? Offhand, there seems to be no irregularity.

The CJ defense panel might need to explain though why their client is on the PEP watchlist or tracking. The CJ post justifies being rated as a Politically Exposed Person. However, if our monetary authorities were tracking the CJ’s dollar transactions because of the enormity of the amounts involved — that would substantially enhance the build up of a case for removing CJ Renato Corona from his post and disqualify him from future public office.

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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