House approves bill to strengthen anti-money laundering law


03:58 PM December 5th, 2012

By: Karen Boncocan, December 5th, 2012 03:58 PM

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte confirmed that he and other lawmakers met with some bishops in September. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill which seeks to strengthen the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said that House Bill 6565, which will amend Republic Act 9160 otherwise known as the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, seeks to ensure that the law is “compliant with updated and revised international anti-money laundering or counter-terrorist financing standards.”

House majority leader Neptali Gonzales II believes that HB 6565 will enable the country to honor its commitments under the Vienna Convention of 1988 as well as the Palermo Convention of 2001.

The Philippines has been blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which felt Manila was not being cooperative in its campaign against money laundering and terrorist financing.

One of the amendments proposed in the measure is to change the definition of money laundering to include conversion, transfer, disposition, movement, acquisition, possession, use, concealment or disguise of the proceeds of any unlawful activity.

Leyte Representative Sergio Apostol, House banks and financial intermediaries panel chair, said that aside from expanding the list of financial institutions covered by the AMLA, HB 6565 will include designated non-financial businesses and professions as reporting institutions.

It also seeks to authorize the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to file a civil forfeiture case upon determination of probable cause.

The bill also allows the AMLC to impose administrative sanctions and keep 25 percent of the net proceeds of forfeited assets.

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