Binay: Probe LP leaders for money laundering too

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Binay: Probe LP leaders for money laundering too
Binay says the AMLC should probe the transactions of Budget Secretary Abad and Senate President Drilon so it won't be accused of being a tool for 'oppression'

MANILA, Philippines – Is the supposedly independent Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) being selective in who to investigate? Vice President Jejomar Binay thinks so.

In an interview in Cebu on Saturday, May 23, the Vice President lamented the AMLC’s “unfair treatment” of him since it asked the Court of Appeals to freeze his and his allies’ bank accounts and investments. It has, however, not initiated any probe of Liberal Party (LP) leaders who are linked to anomalies.

Following his party spokesmen’s line, Binay said AMLC should look into the bank accounts of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Senate President Franklin Drilon. If it wouldn’t then it’s proof that the anti-money laundering body has allowed itself to be used as a tool for “oppression” of the ruling party’s enemies.

Abad was on the list of officials implicated in the pork barrel scamAlleged scam mastermind Janet Napoles said the budget secretary was the one who taught her how to use non-governmental organizations to get government money in the corruption scheme. (READ: I learned to use NGOs from Abad)

Meanwhile, Drilon was charged over the alleged overpricing of P679.8-million ($15.20 million) Iloilo Convention Center

The Senate President had the highest rate wealth increase among all senators, based on the 2014 Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) filed. From P58.14 million in 2013, Drilon’s wealth declaration jumped by 25.78% to P73.13 million in 2014. (READ: Drilon, 14 senators richer in 2014)

However, the AMLC in a statement released on May 15 assured that it will not allow itself to be “used as a tool for political persecution or harassment.” (READ: AMLC vows not to be used for political harassment)

Frozen money ‘hard-earned’?

Binay insisted the funds in the bank accounts frozen by AMLC were “hard-earned money” by him and his wife, former Makati City Mayor Elenita Binay. 

Iyong frineeze pa sa akin, sa Diyos at sa tao, perang malinis ‘yon. Kinita ko ‘yon. I was a lawyer, a practing lawyer,” he said. “My wife is a practicing doctor. I was teaching and mahilig akong mag-save. Perang malinis ‘yon.”

(The money they froze, by God and the people, are all clean money. I earned them. I was a practicing lawyer. My wife is a practicing doctor. I was teaching and I like to save. That’s clean money.)

Moreover, the Vice President explained that freezing a bank account does not automatically mean the owner is guilty of committing an offense.

“Under the law na kapag ganyan ang AMLAC, it must have to look for predicate crime,” he explained. “Saan ba nanggaling ‘yang pera na ‘yan? Kaya nga sinasabi ko sa’yo, hindi porke na-freeze e may offense committed.

(Where does that money come from? It doesn’t mean that when frozen, there’s offense committed.)

He was also confident that the council will not find anything anomalous in his bank transactions and expressed sadness over his friends affected by the action.

Wala silang mahahanap diyan kaya nga malungkot ‘yan,” Binay emphasized. “Pagkatapos, ‘yong marami kong kaibigan, frineeze nila, pati mga account ng mga anak nila, pati mga account ng parents nila. Sobra sobra ‘yan.

(They will not find anything there so that’s sad. They also froze my friends’ accounts, even their children’s and parents’. That’s too much.) –

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