Amla faces rough sailing

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Sen. Joker Arroyo expects rough sailing for the bill increasing the transactions and predicate crimes that would be covered by the country’s antimoney laundering laws despite the administration’s preference that this be passed before February.

Arroyo, who earlier blocked Senate Bill No. 3123’s movement into the period of amendments on the Senate floor, said a good number of lawmakers fear that the measure’s provisions could be used by whoever controls the administration to go after its political opponents.

“Madugo ‘yun (It’s going to be difficult). Other senators, they don’t like it really… That’s why it has not moved. The sentiment is against it,” Arroyo told the Inquirer in an interview.

Arroyo said that under the proposed Anti-Money Laundering Act (Amla) amendments, those who don’t tow the administration line could be threatened with freeze orders on their bank accounts on suspicion of any of the predicate crimes that would be increased if SBN 3123 is passed.

One provision he expects to be opposed is the inclusion of tax evasion as one of the predicate crimes that could be acted on by the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

“The Bureau of Internal Revenue need not go after them. They would just go after the bank deposits; freeze it. Then after freezing it, ex-parte, there would be negotiations with the internal revenue,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo downplayed the perceived threat of a blacklisting by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) if the country fails to enact the third tranche of amendments before the FATF’s meeting in February.

He said the Philippines’ standing with the FATF wasn’t downgraded even after it failed to pass the pending set of amendments before Congress went on recess in October.

The FATF in the middle of 2012 upgraded the Philippines to the grey list from the dark grey list after the country enacted two sets of amendments that supposedly strengthened the country’s anti-money laundering laws.

The two sets of amendments already enacted delved mainly on waiving the requirement of prior notice before suspect accounts are monitored and on criminalizing financial contributions to terrorist organizations.

Arroyo also indicated the need to include banks among the parties that could be held liable for accepting funds from criminal activities.

“In short, dirty monies are deposited with banks, but our Amla law does not punish the banks for accepting dirty money. So they accepted dirty money and who is the one made liable? Everyone else except the banks,” Arroyo said the Senate plenary during the last session day in December.

Arroyo said he has shown Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, the bill’s sponsor, a news report of the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corp. getting penalized by the United States treasury and justice departments “to the tune of $1.9 billion.”

“That is almost P80 billion. That is the penalty for accepting dirty money. We do not have that here, there will be no money-laundering here if the banks do not accept dirty money. And then we will just forget it,” Arroyo said.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HAPQVQNMOOCNHB54ONDGD2KSRE esther

    KUNG WALA KANG TINATAGO BAKIT KA MATATAKOT?

  • Chloroform

    “Arroyo also indicated the need to include banks among the parties that could be held liable for accepting funds from criminal activities.”… a depositor will not declare that the money he is depositing came from “criminal activities’. How will senator arroyo protect the banks from being used unknowingly by these criminals? we have the bank secrecy and right against self-incrimination, how will the banks co-operate with law enforcement agencies if they themselves will become liable?

  • Rap88

    Simple lang yan, ‘no? papayag ba ang mga senador na magpasa ng isang batas kung sila ang unang tatamaan, ano kayo sinuswerte…para mo nang ginisa ang mga senadores ng Pilipinas sa sarili nilang mantika. Gimick, gimick panay na lang gimick ang biggest “boys syndicate club ng Pilipinas.”

  • randyaltarejos

    Why should anyone be afraid of the expanded anti-money laudering law if you have nothing to hide from the government? Perhaps, those who are hiding so much money in their bank accounts are extremely worried once the new law is passed. Don’t fear if you have nothing to reveal!

    • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

      I believe the tune of the problem is NOT that one has anything to hide. But if the government wants to accuse you of something, it will use the AMLA to persecute you EVEN IF you are innocent. As per Sen. Arroyo on the article above.

      An innocent man may not have anything to fear, but when liquid funds are dry and that same man cannot access his hard earned savings from the bank, during the time of the investigation, since it was frozen by the AMLA, since the government deemed that man has something to hide, I that same innocent man will have fears of providing for his family.

      Simply, its not about what YOU think about yourself innocent that you say you are. Its the problem that the government CAN do to harass people by using…no…abusing AMLA

  • batangpaslit

    money is neuter

  • Gerald Abueva

    If the impeachment was anything to go by, the present AMLA without amendment can already be used to go after thieves like Corona. But it was not used to investigate the pyramid scam while it was still growing. The problem in this country is selective application of the law. When Pres. Pnoy is no longer in power, there’s a greater likelihood now that others will also use the AMLA against him and his family. Weather weather lang yan.

  • Horst Manure

    You want the banks to decide what is dirty money and what’s not, that’s not the job of the banks, banks are just supermarkets for money.
     There will always be dirty money all you can do it hinder the crooks as much as possible and look at assets of suspects.
      Italy the Feds fly around looking for swimming pool  and other form of excess wealth.
       

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NYOKKWJDJKP6HLLGJ7TVFKQVPI Rene

    Ano ba ang ikinatakot ni Joker?

  • disqusted0fu

    the AMLA is indeed scary for the opposition! or for anyone who is not an ally of the president or his cronies. with how they abuse their power and how selective justice is under this administration, it is understandable what some of the lawmakers are feeling. FOI might be more effective and fair.

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