Tougher measures vs ill-gotten wealth key to gov’t fight vs corruption – Lacson | Inquirer News
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Tougher measures vs ill-gotten wealth key to gov’t fight vs corruption – Lacson

By: - Correspondent / @melvingasconINQ
/ 04:49 AM June 29, 2021
Panfilo Lacson

Sen. Panfilo Lacson. Senate PRIB file photo / Joseph Vidal

The government needs to show consistency in its fight against graft and corruption, including a more fool-proof campaign to track down ill-gotten wealth, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said on Monday.

He said government institutions showing consistency in fighting corruption would play a major role not only in restoring the trust of international financial institutions, but also in solving many other problems that beset our country amid the pandemic.

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“What we need is to make it difficult, if not impossible, to hide or launder ill-gotten wealth. This would be a big deal in helping stop corruption,” he said.

Lacson was reacting to reports that the Philippines has been included anew in the “gray list” of the global dirty money watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

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The FATF gray list includes 19 countries that will be subjected to heightened monitoring to prove their performance in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

The Department of Finance (DOF) has earlier called for stronger laws to fight money laundering as well as to lift the confidentiality of bank deposits amid concerns that Philippine offshore gaming ope­rators in the country were being used to launder dirty money.

According to Lacson, the Philippines’ inclusion this year in the FATF gray list may again be a call for further measures, such as amending the existing Bank Secrecy Act to address a major source of corruption.

He recalled that the Philippines was included in the FATF gray list in 2012 and urged the government to address deficiencies in countering terrorist financing, among others.

“In response, Congress passed Republic Act No. 10168, or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012. This was further enhanced by RA 11479, or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020,” he said.

Lacson said that since his first term as senator in 2001, he had repeatedly filed a bill seeking to amend the Bank Secrecy Act to remove privacy protection for government officials and employees.

He was also the principal author of the first amendatory law to the 2001 Anti-Money Laundering law in the country, lowering the threshold amount from P4 million to the international standard of P500,000 or $10,000.

In the 18th Congress, Lacson said he filed Senate Bill No. 26, which sought to strip public servants of the protection from Republic Act No. 1405, which prohibits disclosure or inquiry into bank deposits as a general rule. The bill is still pending before the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies.

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TAGS: Government Corruption, Ill-gotten wealth, Panfilo Lacson
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