Senate OKs 3rd AMLA amendment on final reading

Congress needs to pass the bill to keep the Philippines from being included in the Financial Action Action Task Force's blacklist
Updated 6:41 AM, Feb 05, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Monday, February 4, approved the last of 3 measures reinforcing the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).

Senate Bill 3123 was passed in compliance with requirements set by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for the Philippines to escape inclusion in its blacklist ahead of a Feb 18-22 meeting.

The explanatory note of Senate Bill 3123 said, “To be blacklisted means that the Philippines is perceived to be ‘non-cooperative’ in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.”

The measure seeks to expand AMLA's definition of money laundering, the list of predicate crimes or unlawful activities, and the list of institutions covered by the law.

Its version in the House of Representatives hurdled the 3rd and final reading in December 2012. It will now go through the bicameral conference committee, where lawmakers will settle contentious provisions of the measure.

The bicam conference will be held Tuesday 1pm, February 5, at the Senate. The measure has been certified urgent by President Benigno Aquino III.

Salient provisions

Under the bill, the definition of money laundering will include not just the proceeds of unlawful activities that were transacted but also those that were converted, transferred, disposed of, moved, acquired, possessed, used, concealed and disguised.

It wants the following institutions to be covered by the AMLA:

  • casinos
  • real estate agents
  • foreign exchange corporations
  • money changers
  • pre-need companies
  • precious stones and metal dealers

The bill also aims to expand the list of predicate crimes or unlawful activities to include:

  • terrorism
  • conspiracy to commit terrorism
  • bribery
  • fraud
  • illegal exactions
  • malversation of public funds
  • violations to the: Anti Trafficking Act, Revised Forestry Code, Philippine Fisheries Code, Philippines Mining Act, Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, National Caves and Cave Resoruces Management Protection Act and Anti-Carnapping Act
  • illegal possesion, manufacture or disposition of firearms, ammunication or explosives

President Benigno Aquino III recently signed into law 2 of the 3 proposed amendments to the AMLA – Senate Bill 3009 and Senate Bill 3127.

Senate Bill 3009 allows the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to look into bank accounts of suspected money launderers without notifying them.

Senate Bill 3127 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act criminalizes terrorist financing as an offense separate from the crime of terrorism. - with reports from Angela Casauay/

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