Probe sought to find source of BPI glitch that caused discrepancies, panic

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By Macon Araneta | FilAm Star Correspondent

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel lll on June 13 filed a resolution seeking a legislative inquiry into the alleged computer glitch that hit the financial system of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), causing inconvenience and panic among several bank clients.

“This is demanded by constituents who are not satisfied with the public statements of the bank. And also to make sure the banking system is not vulnerable to whatever struck BPI,” Pimentel said.

He said the Senate probe will look into the “safeguards against injury to the banking public attributable to the negligence of banks.’’

Pimentel’s Senate Resolution 403 mandates the Senate Committee on Banks and other appropriate committees to conduct an inquiry on the alleged “internal data processing error” of the BPI. He said the bank’s image was “tainted” following the glitch that caused unauthorized credit and debit transactions from the bank accounts of its clients.

“A number of BPI account holders find the public statements of the bank concerning this particular issue of incorrect balances to be unsatisfactory, lacking in details, and shrouded in mysterious technical terms like ‘internal data processing error’ and are looking forward to be enlightened about this incident from a public hearing on the matter,” said Pimentel.

“Although this inquiry has been prompted by the experience of only one bank, there is a need to find out if other banks and our entire banking system are vulnerable to the same phenomenon as what struck BPI this early June,” he added.

Pimentel said bank accounts and deposits should be handled “with meticulous care” as daily transactions involve billions of pesos.

By nature of their work, he noted that the highest degree of responsibility, care, and trustworthiness are expected of banks.

“They are required to treat the accounts and deposits of their clients with meticulous care,” he said.

BPI earlier explained that it experienced an “internal data processing error,” as it assured that the glitch was not a case of hacking.

“Due to an internal data processing error, some clients may have seen their accounts debited twice or credited twice for a past transaction,” the BPI said.

BPI shut down its electronic channels, including ATMs, while it fixed the problem after many bank clients discovered unauthorized transactions in their accounts. The bank attributed it to a system glitch.

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, chairman of the Senate banks committee, said he cannot call for a hearing until the resolution is referred to his panel.

“I can’t until it is officially and formally referred to me once session resumes. I cannot assume, although it’s logical, that it will be referred to my committee, the tenor of the resolution notwithstanding,” Escudero said in a text message to reporters.

In the House of Representatives, AKO Bicol Representatives Rodel Batocabe, Alfredo Garbin Jr, and Christopher Co filed House Resolution 1072 which seeks to investigate the “security and stability of bank internal systems in light of the recent BPI internal error.”

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