Ambassador Thomas: No comment on leaked cables
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines—US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr. on Saturday refused to comment on the reports allegedly made by his predecessors to Washington—that were posted on WikiLeaks—on the antiquated bank secrecy laws of the Philippines and describing them as “among the strictest in the world.”
“Clearly we can’t comment on anything on WikiLeaks,” Thomas said.
The criticism supposedly aired by former US ambassadors to Manila Francis Ricciardone and Kristie Kenney, in separate dispatches to Washington, were contained in cables from 2005 and 2008 that were made public by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks.
Ricciardone and Kenney had allegedly said the country’s bank secrecy laws were “hampering” transparent governance and anticorruption mechanisms, and went against the global trend toward transparency.
The issue of transparency has come up because of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona who stands accused of, among other things, allegedly amassing wealth hidden in numerous bank accounts, both peso and dollar, which he refuses to open to scrutiny.
Asked if the US government had a position on the trial of Corona, Thomas said: “That is something totally internal to the Philippines. We take no position on that. It has nothing to do with the United States at all.”
Thomas was in this city to attend the third Bacolod Jazz Festival.
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