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President may not be compelled to attend probe on wealth, says Escudero

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 05:37 PM February 05, 2018
Francis Escudero

Sen. Francis Escudero (File photo by RICHARD A. REYES / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

While the President may not be compelled to attend a probe on his wealth, the Senate may summon his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to answer the allegations against her, Sen. Francis Escudero said on Monday.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV has filed as resolution asking the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, which is chaired by Escudero, to look into possible violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) amid reports that President Rodridrigo Duterte and his daughter had joint deposits and investments worth more than P100 million.

The chamber has yet to act on Trillanes’s resolution.

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But if the resolution would be referred to his committee, Escudero said he might not call the President to attend its proceedings.

“Hindi namin ipapatawag siguro. Depende kung kinakailangan at kung Snboluntaryo syang magpupunta,” Escudero told reporters on Monday, citing past instances where former leaders were accorded courtesy.

In particular, Escudero cited as example the cases of then President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was not compelled to face the impeachment proceedings against her, and her successor, President Benigno Aquino III, who was not required by the Senate to attend its probe on the Mamasapabo debacle.

Escudero explained that requiring a president to face a congressional inquiry could just result in a “constitutional crisis.”

But as to the President’s daughter, he said, the Senate could invite her to answer the allegations hurled at her.

“Dapat bigyan ng pagkakataong marinig ang lahat lalo na kung nababanggit ang panaglan o dinudungisan ang pangalan ng sinuman o inaakusahan ang sinuman. Dapat lang bigyan sila ng pagakataon na ibigay ang panig nila,” Escudero said.

[We should give everyone a chance to be heard, especially if their names are mentioned or their names are being besmirched by anyone or they are being accused by anyone. They should be given a chance to give their side.]

Sen. Panfilo Lacson pointed out, however, that the law requires automatic reporting – not automatic investigation – on a bank deposit that exceeds the P500,000 threshold.

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“First, ang sinasabing violation ng AMLA, magkakaroon ng violation kung may predicate crime,” Lacson said in a separate interview. “Hindi porke’t lumampas ng P500,000 ang deposit sa threshold amount, automatic iimbestigahan.”

[First, the alleged violations of AMLA, there will be violations if there are predicate crimes. It does not mean that just because the deposit has exceeded the P500,000 threshold amount it should be  automatically investigated.]

“Automatic magre-report ang bank official. But ang investigation can be triggered kung may predicate crime na involved,” he said. “Halimbawa, malinaw na ang amount na deposited nanggaling sa piracy, nanggaling sa graft and corruption, pupuwede yan. Pero nasaan ang predicate crimes?”

[The bank official should automatically make a report. But the investigation can be triggered if there’s a predicate crime involved. For example, it’s clear that amount deposited came from piracy, graft and corruption, (then that can be investigated). But where are the predicate crimes?]

/atm

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TAGS: Antonio Trillanes IV, Duterte's hidden wealth, Duterte's ill-gotten w, Francis Escudero, Rodrigo Duterte, Sara Duterte-Carpio
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