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Senate passes bill amending AMLA

/ 06:41 PM June 05, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—The Senate on Tuesday approved on its third and final reading a bill amending the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) just days before they go on sine die adjournment.

Voting 20 affirmative, and zero abstention, the Senate approved SB 3009, which would introduce a new provision on ex-parte applications for bank inquiries by the council.

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SB 3009 is just one of the three bills amending the AMLA, which the Senate needs to pass in order for the Philippines not to be blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The FATF is a Paris-based inter-governmental body that develops and promotes policies against money laundering and terrorist financing. FATF will be assessing the progress made by the Philippines in the fight against money laundering from June 18 to 22.

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Meanwhile, the two other bills are: SB 3127or the antiterrorist financing bill, which aims to cut accounts used to fund terrorist activities and; SB 3123, which aims to expand the coverage of the AMLA to several institutions and individuals like foreign exchange corporations, money changers, remittance and transfer companies, pre-need firms, casinos, real estate agents and dealers of precious minerals.

The Congressional Oversight Committee on the Anti-Money Laundering Law, chaired by Senator Teofisto Guingona III, will have its bicameral session on this bill Wednesday morning.

The passing of the three bills have been delayed due to the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona who was removed from office on Tuesday last week after a 44-day trial that began January this year.

In a chance interview, Senator Vicente Sotto III said they will be able to finish approving two of the three bills before their sine die break and is confident that it would be enough for the FATF not to blacklist the Philippines.

“That’s good enough. It’s just a matter of time before it is inked, before it is signed by the President,” Sotto told reporters.

Sotto said that SB 3123 is not an amendment required by the FATF but was only requested by the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

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TAGS: Amla, Anti-Money Laundering Act, Financial Action Task Force, Senate of the Philippines, Senator Vicente Sotto III
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