Court hands P23-M recovered drug money to gov’t
A Manila court has awarded to the government over P23 million in proceeds from the sale of illegal drugs seized by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) after an antinarcotics raid five years ago, financial regulators said on Thursday.
In a statement, the AMLC said the Manila Regional Trial Court, in a decision handed down on Aug. 30, granted its petition for civil forfeiture of deposits in several bank accounts discovered during a counternarcotics operation in Ilocos Sur province in 2014.
The council said Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents found bags of “shabu” (crystal meth) and six bank deposit slips during a raid in September that year on the house of Genaro Taliño at Barangay Becques in Tagudin town.
15 bank accounts
The PDEA turned over the deposit slips to the AMLC for investigation.
Eleven related bank accounts were discovered during the financial investigation, bringing to 15 the number of bank accounts where proceeds from the sale of shabu were deposited.
In 2015, the AMLC, through the Office of the Solicitor General, asked the Manila Regional Trial Court to declare the deposits in the bank accounts forfeit and order them paid in favor of the state.
The court issued a preservation order in January 2016 and proceeded to hear the case.
In its decision handed down in August, the court directed the forfeiture in favor of the government and placed the 15 bank accounts containing over P23 million under the authority and disposal of the AMLC.
As of end-2018, the AMLC had turned over almost P49 million in cash and seven hectares of land estimated to be worth P10 million to the Bureau of Treasury.
The August legal victory has brought to over P82 million the amount of assets that the council has turned over to the government.
The AMLC investigates suspicious financial transactions, alleged money laundering and terrorism financing.
It also gathers evidence to establish probable cause to inquire into bank accounts and bring petitions for freeze orders, civil forfeiture cases, and complaints for money laundering.
In 2018, the council adopted a system for the management and preservation of assets and properties covered by petitions for forfeiture.
The system allows the council to ensure that the assets do not diminish in value during the pendency of the forfeiture cases.—DAXIM L. LUCAS
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