SC orders CA, others to comment on Binay law firm plea to stop bank audit
MANILA, Philippines— The Supreme Court (SC) ordered the Court of Appeals (CA), the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Insurance Commission (IC), on Tuesday to comment on the petition of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s law firm against the inspection of its bank records without prior notice.
Without issuing an immediate temporary restraining order, the high court ordered the four respondents to comment within 10 days on the certiorari petition that Subido Pagente Certeza Mendoza and Binay (SPCMB) Law Offices filed on March 11 in a bid to stop the examination of its bank account.
The law firm serves as counsel for the Vice President and counts as a partner Binay’s daughter Abigail, a Makati representative (2nd district).
In its 44-page petition for certiorari, SPCMB cried political harassment in questioning the AMLC’s power to examine bank accounts ex parte, or “without any notice whatsoever to the affected party.”
The suit came with an “extremely urgent application for the issuance of a TRO” to put on hold the examination of bank records that the Court of Appeals had allowed through a resolution, a copy of which the court refused to give the firm and was known only through a news report, the law office said in its petition.
In the petition, the law firm questioned the constitutionality of Section 11 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, which has given AMLC the authority to undertake ex-parte examinations of bank records.
“Congress expressly provided that said law and the vast powers given thereunder to the AMLC shall not be used for political persecution or harassment,” the petition read.
“Regrettably, the instant case exemplifies how the said law has been used for political persecution and harassment,” said the firm. SM/RC
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