Senate races to fortify Amla, drops provision on casinos



Pressure to ratify a bill strengthening the Anti-Money Laundering Act (Amla) at the soonest possible time has forced legislators to drop a provision requiring casinos to report the presence of suspected money launderers on their premises.

Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III said “time is running out” for Congress to come out with amendments to Amla as required by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global group monitoring terrorist financing.

The Senate approved its set of Amla amendments on second and third readings on Monday night.

Congress needs to ratify the measure by Wednesday at the latest or risk inclusion in the FATF blacklist.

It was Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who suggested the casino requirement, saying money launderers would sometimes pose as gamblers in efforts to launder illegally acquired cash.

The Amla amendment version passed by the House of Representatives does not contain a similar provision.

Guingona had predicted before the bicameral meeting began that the casino provision would spark disagreements between senators and House members tasked with reconciling their versions of the Amla amendment bill.

Rather than face a deadlock and miss the FATF’s deadline next week, the bicameral body chose to leave out the casino provision and proceeded to approve the rest of the amendments.

Guingona said the Philippines would face inclusion on the FATF blacklist should it fail to enact a new law on money laundering.

Blacklist consequences

A blacklist could mean difficulties for overseas Filipinos sending money home as more documentation would be required from them as a result of the country’s blacklisting.

Guingona said though that the deletion of casinos from institutions covered by a requirement to report transactions of P500,000 and above would favor money launderers who choose to wash their illegally acquired cash in these establishments.

“That is the problem but it’s better to have a law than no law at all. Otherwise, we would end up in the blacklist,” he explained.

Guingona said the incoming 16th Congress would provide a new opportunity to amend the law once more and open debates on the inclusion of casinos.


The bill that still needs to be ratified by both Senate and House require:

— Foreign exchange dealers, money changers, remittance agents, preneed companies, and money and securities managers to report transactions of P500,000 and above to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

— Dealers of precious metals and precious stones to report to the AMLC transactions of P1 million and above.

— Real estate agents to report transactions of P500,000 and above to the Land Registration Authority.

New provisions


Also among the new provisions is one that allows the AMLC to request an ex parte (for one party) court order to freeze a suspected launderer’s bank accounts through the Office of the Solicitor General.

This means the court would no longer have to inform the depositor that his or her cash deposits would be frozen as he or she is being investigated by the AMLC.

The ex parte order also allows the AMLC to forfeit cash deposits and properties “having equivalent value to cash” of a suspected launderer whose acquisition of the assets was related “in any way to an unlawful activity or money-laundering offense.”

Other penalties include 7 to 14 years’ imprisonment and a fine not less than P3 million but does not exceed twice the value of the laundered assets.

Directors, officers or personnel who knowingly participated in the commission of money laundering would likewise be charged.

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  • Fulpol

    i should stop betting in Lotto.. If I won 200million, AMLA will harass and extort me…

  • Fulpol

    This means the court would no longer have to inform the depositor that his or her cash deposits would be frozen as he or she is being investigated by the AMLC.

    a powerful law to harass and persecute your enemy…

  • Fulpol

    This means the court would no longer have to inform the depositor that his or her cash deposits would be frozen as he or she is being investigated by the AMLC.

    if I won a lotto jackpot, I should never scattered my winning prize to various banks.. AMLA will harass and extort me..

    why? if I deposited 1 million, AMLA will freeze my money… need documentation? of course from PCSO… and AMLA say, oh its fake certification…

  • Fulpol

    controversial laws always done in hastes like the cybercrime law… wonder why..

    “a minute to inject it, the new provision” so no complaints received…

  • wawa2172

    Minamadali na naman ang pag gawa nang batas and were sure may mga butas ito. Maaring madagdagan ang exemptions sa AMLA . As far as pagmamadali, our lawmakers are planning to be on vacation abroad with the pamilya kaya ayan may palusot na naman.

  • yesyesyo

    Well done and good judgment under pressure. The next congress can pass another law that pertains to the casinos.

  • JV Velarde

    Why would the casino requirement be contentious? And who among the honorable congressmen & senators are insisting to have that provision remove? Are they casino aficionados? 

    If one has half a million peso to splurge on casinos, particularly public officials, it’s only right to have them on the list that needs to be submitted to AMLA.

    Kung wala naman tinatago bakit kailangan matakot kun malinis naman ang pinaggalingan ng perang ginagamit sa casino?? At sa mga public officials na nag-cacasino at gumagastos ng kalahating milyon piso, mahiya naman kayo sa balat niyo!!!

  • mangTASYO

    As usual “BATAS na BUTAS!”…batas na may butas para may lusot!

    Kailangan pang maghintay ng “11th Hour” para sa Batas na Butas?

    Kulang sa oras, sobra sa pondo, iyan ang House ng Xanadu!

  • Fred

    Cramming ang nangyayari sa inyo.
    Inuna nyo kasi ang paglustay ng MOOE.

  • Bengatibo

    Hindi napag-aralan nang husto ang AMLA ammendments kasi inaapura sila, iyang ang excuse kung palpak at ma-blacklist ang Pilipinas. Puro kasi bangayan ang inaatupag nang mga senador natin. At sasabihin pa nila na election time na kaya walang qourum sa house of represantathieves 

  • OleSapra aka ARGUS


    ANA: “Kailangan pa pala ng ratification ng 2 Congress para ang land grabbing syndicate na umaastang mga real estate agents na naglisaw sa LRA eh puedeng isama bilang money launderer?”

    LISA: “Ma-aprub na nga sana ng Congress’ bi-lateral committee ang bagong AMLC version, partikular ang probisyon ‘gaya ng sa (Real estate agents to report transactions of P500,000 and above to the Land Registration Authority), o, ‘di ba?”

    CION: “Nakana mo ‘ga. ‘Lamobang ang mga real estate agents na kasapi sa land grabbing syndicate at mga kasapi rin sa IGLESYA-NI-KULAFU, eh humihiling kay PNoy para sibakin bilang LRA Administrator si Eulalio C. Diaz III, porke ‘di raw basta-basta MABALUKTOT ng INK ang tuwid-na-daan ng pagpapatakbo nito sa LRA?”  

  • Jeremiah_CheGuevara

    I smell big money changed hands with the deletion of casinos from the list. Too obvious. The casino operators lobbied for its deletion but had to hand big money first to the senators. Bright senators. They need the money for elections. CORRUPTION CORRUPTION! – WHEN WILL YOU DISAPPEAR FROM THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF MEN!

  • Chloroform

    “ex parte (for one party) court order to freeze a suspected launderer’s bank accounts” for me is a good idea but there should also be a way (IRR?) to unfreeze at the shortest possible time if no case is filed in court and just compensation for the victim if not convicted…

  • blainz

    The deadline for the AMLA amendments was already moved from last year, with the FATF giving the country a grace period before getting blacklisted. But despite such an obvious priority, the Senate squandered its time with MOOE lucre, personal squabbles, waling-waling, and precampaign sorties.

    Now they scramble to pass an amendment with glaring loopholes. Whether this was done by incompetence or design, I can’t tell.

    • TotoyKalentong

      When Alan Cayetano ran for the Senate in 2007 he had to attack someone so he can get media mileage.. he chose Mike Arroyo as his target in his “anti-corruption” crusade, now he is running again he is employing the same tactics, he has chosen Enrile as his target, he saw the MOOE as another “crusade against corruption” when he in fact had been receiving it.. but after elections, everything would be back to normal. As GMA pointed out before, they are ingrates, after GMA accommodated all their requests and favors, from their father to Pia Cayetano’s inclusion in the senatorial slate. 

      • Loggnat

        I would rather vote for an ingrate who is not beholden to a party who is corrupt as h3ll than a loyal party follower who will play deaf and blind on the corruption being pulled by his party in the name of party loyalty. Somebody famous once said ‘ My loyalty to my party ends where loyalty to my country begins.’ Loyalty to your country/ constituents trumps the loyalty to your party anytime.

      • TotoyKalentong

        You have to realize it’s political convenience that came into play with what they are doing. Whatever will benefit them personally, regardless who they will go against. So when politicians think of their personal benefits, what makes you think that our welfare is what’s in their mind?

        Quezon’s words were merely rhetoric and wasn’t put into action. It was his personal caprice that he served, he meddled in everything, reducing the power of the Speaker to a mere presiding officer, from textbook issues in UP, disciplinary sanctions against UP students, one has to read history deeper more than the regular textbook would present. He used his party very well to stamp out the opposition or his critics and when something isn’t going right in his party, he was quick to run to the people to say he’s more loyal to them, than his party.

      • Loggnat

        History textbooks are always slanted by the beliefs and leanings of the individual who wrote it. Why is it that UP has it’s different sets of textbooks than what is taught in the general student population? What makes those textbooks containing more truth than the ones used in other universities? I cannot judge Quezon but I can attempt to understand the current crop of politicians vying for senatorial seats in the next election and that is what I’m posting my opinion about. One can never know what’s in a politicians mind. I just try to compare them to other politicians and it seems to me the only criteria that is workable would be picking the lesser evil and the one that can do less damage and hopefully some good for the people and the country. It’s like a basket of rotten mangoes, you try to pick and separate the less rotten ones. :))

  • Cavitekid

    Why am I not surprised, that they would exclude casinos? Heaven forbid, that they would have to be transparent.

  • Harry

    Aha! How many of our legislators and officials frequent the casinos? 

    The dealers might mistake them for drug lords, jueteng lords, kidnappers, smugglers, etc. and report them to the authorities, so the quick fix.

  • VeryDisgusted2

    I don’t trust anymore thieves making laws. Is there big money from casino?

  • Emerson Yu

    Just pass the law… There are to many problems with AMLC and too many ways to wash dirty money. casinos are for amateurs. Businesses, Banks, Money Market these are just the things that should be closely monitored. HSBC has recently been penalize for harboring drug money. If Bankers where able to create complex derivatives that almost collapsed the world economy just to earn a few more bucks, what’s stopping them to help a fellow clean his laundry for a couple more bucks? There is an incentive to be have in participating with money laundering. I say lets provide incentive in reporting money laundering activity. Let’s say a 10% reward base on total sequestered asset to an informer that can provide proof. “SHOW ME THE MONEY”

    • Paul Kyl

      You are dead Wrong !
      Las Vegas Sands, the casino empire owned by Sheldon Adelson, from USA to Macau to Singapore, is the biggest criminal money launderer, vastly more than all the banks put together. South America biggest drug dealers laundered billions in Las Vegas especially at Las Vegas Sands.
      Corrupt Chinese officials laundered billions too at Sands China, Adelson’s casinos in Macau.

  • Forsaken

    Am I the only one who reads it as FAT Force? :D


    yung dollar account ng mga senatong at tongressman para hindi yata nasama sa batas na pwedeng buksan ng AMLA ng walang pahintulot galing sa kanila.

    ang gagaling talaga nilang gumawa ng batas. walang kabutas butas. tuloy pa rin ang masasayang araw sa piling ng mga kerida.

  • Loy

    Real estate included? Expect people to buy high end condos and sell them one week or one month after and money is already clean.  Since foreigners can buy condos, open a Trust Account in a Labuan bank and use the account to buy the condo.  Or they can buy a Ferrari and sell the car after one month and money is already clean. If it is bigger money, buy a chopper and sell the unit to a politician and money is clean. So many ways indeed.  Basically, that AMLA thing is being instigated only by the US thru its ally, France to curb Legacy Funds which runs to trillions that may be used to develop the Philippines. They do not want our country to be big and tilt the balance of power in Asia and the Pacific. They want us to continue our dependence on the US. China became so big because of these Legacy Funds.  Even Germany has no official policy yet on their Legacy Funds which they hope to use to solve the Euro crisis.

  • gatdila

    What a heinously deceptive creature this Enrile! His real intent was to derail the passage of the AMLA amendments.  His suggested inclusion of the proviso for casino reporting is a Trojan horse to kill the bill. We all know the why of his evil motivations.

  • ever green

    That is the problem but it’s better to have a law than no law at all. Otherwise, we would end up in the blacklist,” he explained. -wtf !!!   Kahit hilaw, pakakain basta may makain lang!!!!! Anong kuwenta ng isang batas kung napaka-obvious na may loophole?????

  • prangka

    So Halimbawa nagpakilala ako at binabanatan ko si Pnoy araw araw dito. Di ba pede nya ipa-freeze yung account ko regardless may prima facie o wala? Kahit isang araw ay mapawalang sala ako paano na yung mga years di ko magamit yung pera  para sa tuition ng mga anak ko, emergency na-ospital si mommy at pang-piyansa dahil sa kung ano anong kaso ang tinapon sa akin dahil nagalit ang presidente sa akin?

  • branstark

    either a lot of our representatives are casino aficionados or they’re protecting their patrons.

    what i would like to see in this report is the list of reps/senators who voted against the provision.

  • ApoLapullapu

    Passage of the AMLA will be relegated to the next Congress.  Many of the incumbents have bones in their closets that must be kept sealed.

  • Albert Einstien

    CLOSE , ALL CASINOS it will destroy our youth & our society…what the people need is MANUFACTURING & PRODUCTION ..JOBS & FOOD SECURITY …NOT GAMBLING….who will only promote immorality, corruption,broken families, laziness, ineptitude & moral banckruptcy….ONLY the CORRUPT will FAVOR CASINOS here in the PHILIPPINES…if you want casinos in rp put them in panatag or sparatly islands or on tourist destinaton islands..NOT on URBAN CITIES…it wll destroy our NATIONAL VIRTUEs & VALUES…as a consequence the future of our country & people…

  • shane oy

    Busy kasi masyado sa pakikipagkurutan sa hita ang mga representatives natin kaya naubusan ng time para sa pagsasaayos ng mga batas. Kaya hayan rush rush rush

  • Mang Teban

    Senator TG Guigona reveals how the Senate sits on pressing bills and wastes time on trivial matters like privilege speeches directed towards their own colleagues. 

    As an aftermath of the impeachment trial of chief justice Corona, we recall the defendant signing a waiver on the confidentiality rule by the SC on justices’ SALNs by offering his (which I termed as the Corona bluff because the chief justice was trying to entrap the senator-judges to reveal theirs).

    Then, by some divine intervention, we heaved a sigh of relief that the defendant inadvertently disclosed his dollar accounts without being asked to despite his legal team’s parrying and threatening to question the presentation of the Ombusdman’s testimony on the AMLC report of high profile personalities. 

    This strengthened the call for more transparency as grandstanding senators offered to reveal the details of their SALNs who were as gullible and stupid to adapt the Corona bluff tactic. Where are those promises to open their bank accounts by those senators and congressmen who said they will? Gone with the wind. Perhaps, voters should get their names if they are running for reelection this May.

    One telling sign of lackluster performance by our Congress is to spend the whole year for this pseudo-HEALTH CARE bill now signed into law as the RH law. But, the universal requirement by the international OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) of which the Philippines is a signatory to pass a law on tracking money laundering activities has been put at the bottom of the priority bills. What a shame! The bad Filipino habit of “bukas na yan” is exhibited this latest cramming work by our senators.

    • joshua kings

      tama ka; yan ang mga salot sa buhay nating mga pinoy….na sumisipsip sa dugo ng mga taxpayer’s at mga kababayang walang gaanong hanapbuhay….na dapat yung kanilang mga ninanakaw at kinukurakot ay magastos at gamitin para sa ikabubuti ng mga mahihina at mahihirap ng ating bayan…

  • ApoLapullapu

    The casino requirement would never pass because a lot of them wash spurious cash there.  After a few rounds of betting in the casino, they would declare they wound a large amount of money and presto – all the money he brings to the Casino are washed.

  • tower_of_power

    One need not go somewhere else … not in the casinos … sa senate or congress (isama mo na lahat ng government offices … lalo na opisina ng mga heads) nalang sila pumunta to look for suspicious looking money launderers. On second thought …. sa casino siguro nandoon ang mga suspicious looking mistresses ng mga congressmen, senators, military officials etc!!!

    BTW … marami sa congress at sa senate … EMLA sa BAYAGRA ang kinakailangan … HINDI AMLA!!!! Kung meroin ka ba namang 30 yrs your junior… hahahahaha.

  • boldyak

    kung ang 500,000 na padala ay ireport sa AMLA, di gawing dalawang padala….bwahahahaha…mga ungas…sige madaliin nyo para mabango sa foriegner, tapos magkalokoloko ang pinas…bwahahaha…mga ungas na mambabatas…taena nyo…bwesit na talaga kayo

  • boldyak

    i strongly suggest that all lawmakers take a vacation leave till election!….para umayos ang Pinas…please…otherwise sana kunin na kayo lahat ni Lucy…taena nyo talaga, mga ungas…

  • boldyak

    There are many ways to catch a crook….kung gustohin….kahit anong law kung ang mag-implement ay mga crooks mismo bale wala ang kahit anong batas…mga ungas…I can’t believe that we have these kind of lawmakers…sana noon na lang ako pinanganak at hindi ako makapagmura ng tao….taena nyo!!!

  • superpilipinas

    I wish a world body like WTO or World Bank would blacklist us for not having FOI. Then this would force this government to work on it.

  • ADD

    “The bill that still needs to be ratified by both Senate and House require:

    – Foreign exchange dealers, money changers, remittance agents,
    preneed companies, and money and securities managers to report
    transactions of P500,000 and above to the Anti-Money Laundering Council

    So pag may transaction ng 499,999 o dalawang 250,000 lusot na?

    – Dealers of precious metals and precious stones to report to the AMLC transactions of P1 million and above.

    So less than 1M lusot na ba? Madaming transaction sa ginto pa lng ay hindi nman umaabot sa 1M.

    – Real estate agents to report transactions of P500,000 and above to the Land Registration Authority.”

    Pag hinati ang transaction sa agents lusot na? Pag nahuli dawit ba ang real estate agents?
    Kasama ba ang memorial lots dito?

    Ang mga mambabatas natin mabait lng pag election. Matino at always present lang ang mga mababatas pag bigayan na ng MOOE at Pork Barrel.

    Minadali na ang batas sa AMLC hindi pa napag-isipan ng maayos. Milyon-milyon ang bayad sa mga Senate employees at eto lang ang quality ng batas na ipapasa nyo. PUNYETA!


  • ADD

    Sana isama din ung mga Pilipinong bumibili ng lupain sa ibang bansa, ganito kasi ang kalakaran ng mga Pulitiko natin para hindi mahuli. Ung mga nakaw sa Kaban ng Bayan ay pinapambili ng house & lot sa ibang bansa.

  • calixto909

    sarsuela so this is the game played by these senators. They dawdled the AMLA’s passage because of an agenda and one of which is the casino provision which is a vital part for as we all knew that more than a decade ago, Erap was implicated in a casino employee disappearance or what knowledgeable people call as murder in retaliation of providing the incriminating tape

  • joshua kings

    JPE is right in suggesting that amla provision on casino;
    sad thing, this was shot down by members of the lower house…..
    they have to coz this is how they will hide their ill-gotten wealth; they could always say that they won big in casino gambling…
    expect more congressmen in casinos… they have reason to tell the missus why they need to go to the casino with their ladies, hehehe….kung ako kay misis, sasama ako sa casino, hehehe…
    mga t—ntado talaga sila…

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