AMLC vows not to be used for political harassment

Rappler.com
AMLC vows not to be used for political harassment
The Anti-Money Laundering Council issues a rare statement amid reports the Vice President and a senator are questioning findings pertaining to their bank transactions

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) gave assurances on Friday, May 15, it would not allow itself to be “used as a tool for political persecution or harassment.”

The AMLC issued the rare statement amid reports of a court order that cited AMLC findings as basis to freeze the assets of Vice President Jejomar Binay and his alleged dummies.

On Friday too, detained Senator Jinggoy Estrada asked the Supreme Court to overturn a decision of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to accept as evidence in a plunder case against him the findings of the AMLC on bank transactions made by him and his wife.

In its statement Friday, the AMLC said it is “an independent government agency fully committed to combating money laundering and helping preserve the integrity of the financial system.” 

It stressed that the cases it files are results of investigations, accomplished “quietly and without fanfare.”

Binay’s case

The Binay camp, which claims to have not received a copy of the Court of Appeals (CA) decision, accused the ruling Liberal Party of having a copy of the AMLC report. They said the LP could be responsible for leaking the court ruling.

Media reports – which say that 242 bank accounts and investments traced to Binay, his family, and close associates are covered by the 6-month freeze order – have all been based on a copy of the CA order provided by Binay’s critic, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado.

The Vice President refuted the AMLC findings cited in the court order, saying he only had 5 bank accounts, and the hundreds of accounts he supposedly has would’ve made him richer than international billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffet Jr.

One of Binay’s spokesmen earlier called AMLC probers “fiction writers” for identifying supposedly non-existent accounts or links to the Vice President.

The CA said that, among other findings, the AMLC traced large sums of dollars transferred by Binay’s trusted aides to Canadian banks during the time the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building was being constructed.

The council was also said to have found that the Vice President’s son who succeeded him as Makati mayor, Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr, had bank transactions that involved higher amounts than his declared income.

Estrada’s case

In the case of Senator Estrada, his lawyers told the High Court that the AMLC report – which cited “indications of money laundering” in 9 accounts linked to Estrada – was obtained through a “fishing expedition” by prosecutors.

The AMLC said it will “continue to discharge its legal mandate without fear or favor,” and urged that parties which have issues “concerning a pending case” to bring these issues the “proper court.”

“[The AMLC has never allowed, and will never allow, itself to be used as a tool for political persecution or harassment, or as an instrument to hamper competition in trade and commerce. It is not, and will never be, beholden to anyone but the Filipino people,” it said in the statement. – Rappler.com 

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