MANILA, Philippines – Syndicates were able to sneak in dirty money amounting to P18.7 billion into the Philippines with the help of some police, military, and airport security personnel, said Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero.
In an emailed statement by the Department of Finance (DOF) on Monday, March 2, Guerrero said the money came from two groups, one dubbed the Rodriguez group and another one run by Chinese.
According to Guerrero, the Rodriguez group brought in P10.2 billion through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport between July 2019 and January 2020, while the Chinese group was able to move P8.5 billion from December 2019 to January 2020.
The BOC, an attached agency of the DOF, further found that the Rodriguez group declared a company called Excellent Forex Incorporated as its recipient.
The statement did not specify what crimes these groups were involved in.
Guerrero said couriers of the money are paid between P12,000 and P50,000 per flight.
“These couriers travel almost twice or thrice a week and carry about one to two pieces of luggage…and are able to escape detection because they are escorted by members of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, or of the airport police department at the Manila International Airport Authority,” the DOF’s statement read.
The BOC chief recommended the creation of an inter-agency body to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, to keep tabs on the inflow of foreign currency into the country.
“Given the global threat of terrorism, organized crimes, [and] money laundering…it is respectfully recommended that an inter-agency body be established through a presidential directive,” said Guerrero.
This inter-agency body would “monitor the continuous inflow of foreign currencies by individual couriers, profile the personalities involved and the recipient thereof, and recommend measures to ensure that such sums of money will not be used in any illegal trade or activities,” he added.
Dominguez has directed the BOC to closely coordinate with the Anti-Money Laundering Council in investigating the matter. – Rappler.com