Press Release
April 19, 2016


WITH the PhilRem messenger finally surfacing at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's sixth public hearing on the $81-M money laundering case, Chairman and reelectionist Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III observed yet more inconsistencies in the foreign exchange dealer's narrative.

"May discrepancy na naman. In every delivery andun si Mark Palmares, yung delivery man. Pero ngayon lumalabas kay Mr. Palmares na hindi siya kasama, dun lang siya sa umpisa tapos after that wala na siya. So may discrepancy na naman yung sinasabi ng Philrem from what they said nung una, ngayon iba na naman," Guingona told reporters after the hearing.

Palmares, the "phantom messenger," related that he indeed accompanied Salud and Michael Bautista, PhilRem president and treasurer respectively, to Solaire casino on February 5. He supposedly carried P90 million and $500,000 in cash in a suitcase, a traveling bag, and a shoulder bag, which he turned over to the Bautista couple at the ground floor VIP room.

But Kam Sin Wong, a.k.a. Kim Wong, denied knowing or seeing Palmares in the number of times that he has allegedly received money from the Bautistas. In the Solaire drop-off, Wong averred that the money came in one big carton case and a hand-carry bag, unlike the ones described by Palmares.

"Hindi ko siya [Palmares] kilala. . . Dalawang lalaki, malaki, hindi siya," Wong attested.

Palmares also claimed to have subsequently delivered tranches worth multi-millions in local and dollar denominations from PhilRem's Makati office to the Bautistas' home between February 9 and 14. Palmares' statement belies earlier claims of his employers that all cash deliveries were made in Solaire.

"Lies and conflicting statements in fact make it easier for us to pin down the guilty ones," Guingona stated.

First to cast doubt on Palmares' statement was Atty. Renato de Jesus, the lawyer who allegedly notarized the messenger's affidavit presented by PhilRem president Salud Bautista in the April 12 hearing. The notary public denied knowing Palmares whom he called "a liar."

"Nagsisinungaling siya [Palmares], kahit kailan 'di ko pa siya nakikita," de Jesus claimed.

In previous hearings, Guingona has already warned Salud about false testimonies and that her "credibility is running very, very low."

In today's hearing, Michael Bautista also said that all instructions to remit money to an alleged Weikang Xu have emanated from Maia Deguito.

"All the instructions came from Maia, for the cash portion, pick-up. . . sa amin po, so whatever cash we can raise to complete the transaction, whatever the amount for the day would be raised, so just tell the amount and then somebody comes to pick up," Michael testified.

The former RCBC Jupiter branch manager countered that after February 5, no one called her and she called no one about subsequent cash deliveries.

"February 5, 'yung instruction lang sa akin was 'yung kay Eastern Hawaii and kay Bloomberry, for the cash deliveries po wala. Wala akong instruction, walang anything, I would like to believe po derecho na sila [PhilRem and Wong] nag-uusap," Deguito claimed. The Bautistas, Wong, and Dequito have given consent to the committee to look into their phone conversations during the transaction dates in question.

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