Bicam approves AMLA amendments

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Minority leader Danilo Suarez addresses the media during a briefing at the House of Representatives.

MANILA, Philippines — Amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) have been approved in the bicameral conference committee, House minority leader Danilo Suarez said on Wednesday.

The lawmaker said that there were “contentious issues” surrounding Senate Bill 3009 which seeks to introduce a new provision on ex-parte applications in AMLC’s bank inquiries.

He explained that from their counter-proposal to have the Sandiganbayan look into accounts of government officials and designate the Court of Appeals for private personalities the decision was to have the former act on cases of both government and private.

He said that the Senate’s position was “that they want the two chambers to take up issues that before you can open an account, you need a court order. They would like Sandigan to be a part of the court.”

After debates, he said that the Court of Appeals was selected to act on cases of both government and private. It will have the sole power to freeze bank accounts.

“So we wrap up with some conditions that as soon the Senate approves the contentious issues, then it will be sent to the House and we will just sign our approval on the bicameral report of the AMLA.”

“The Senate will have to have the bicameral approved in the plenary though they’re expecting strong resistance on the predicate crime issues,” he said.

Suarez further cited “information that the AMLA has already given us a clean bill of health after this action that was done by both House and Senate.”

The Senate recently voted 20-0, approving SB 3009 which was one of three measures being eyed to resolve the possibility of the country being blacklisted by Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The said body creates and promotes policies against money laundering and terrorist financing.

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