Binay aide asks CA to lift freeze order on 170 bank accounts
The alleged trusted aide and financial officer of Vice President Jejomar Binay asked the Court of Appeals to lift the freeze order against 170 bank and financial accounts under his name.
In an 88-page urgent motion, Gerardo “Gerry” Limlingan said the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and the covered banks failed to present proof to show that his accounts were connected to illegal activities.
Limlingan has been on the run since the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee started its inquiry on the Vice President’s supposed corrupt activities.
Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, who turned Binay whistle-blower, tagged Limlingan as a henchman and bagman of the Vice President when the latter was still Makati mayor.
Mercado said during Senate hearings that Limlingan fronted for Binay in businesses and properties that are not declared in the Vice President’s statement of assets and liabilities.
His bank accounts have been included in the ex-parte petition of the AMLC, through the Office of the Solicitor General, which was filed May 7, 2015 and granted by the Court of Appeals on May 11, 2015.
The freeze order was directed against 242 banks accounts of, investments made by, and insurance policies issued to Limlingan, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, Vice President Jejomar Binay, and suspended Makati mayor Junjun Binay, among others.
The funds in the covered accounts were allegedly derived from alleged overpricing in the Makati City Hall Parking Building and Makati City Science High School Building, as well as the alleged 5 percent share from a joint venture agreement with Alphaland.
In his motion, Limlingan said he is an established businessman with legitimate businesses and sources of income.
He said for years he has been engaged in businesses in commodities, food, electronics, furniture, mining and logging industries, among others.
He added that he is also a partner with a group that set up establishments like a renowned Thai restaurant, a shuttle bus company, a popular bar in Manila, and a movie company.
The motion added that he also has investments in companies including cement plants, a cigarette manufacturing company, and a development bank in Mindanao. Together with his brother, Limlingan said he also purchased a seat in the Philippine Stock Exchange.
“Notwithstanding the fact that respondent Limlingan’s background are easily and even known to the AMLC, petition deliberately refrained from bringing the foregoing matters to the attention of this honorable court,” read the plea.
“Indeed, none of the foregoing matters ever surfaced in the Senate, the Office of the Ombudsman, or this Honorable Court,” it added.
He accused AMLC of misleading the court into believing he does not have the financial capacity to maintain bank and investment accounts.
“Limlingan has been unjustifiably pilloried and tarred with numerous despicable and unfortunate description, which have been reiterated in various media outlets and by various media practitioners,” the motion stated, adding that AMLC merely relied on the unsubstantiated accusation of Mercado.
He said the 170 accounts identified by the AMLC to be under his name “while staggering, is maliciously misleading.”
Limlingan said one Security Bank Equities account was counted three times, two accounts do not exist, while the rest of the accounts have either been closed, terminated, or rendered inactive before the freeze order was issued.
“The curious question arises: How does AMLC intend to freeze accounts which do not exist [or] have already been closed?” read the plea.
Only around five accounts of Limlingan have been confirmed as open and existing at the time the freeze order was issued, it added.
He also pointed out that freezing of his dollar time deposit account was illegal and in violation of Section 8 of Republic Act 6426 or the Foreign Currency Deposit Act of the Philippines.
In his plea, Limlingan that aside from the accounts covered by the freeze order, AMLC, the banks, and the financial institutions “on their own and without filing with this court, also froze numerous accounts of individuals and corporations not listed in the freeze order.
“Indeed, the scope of the freeze order was so sweeping, indiscriminate and baseless that even the savings accounts of Respondent Limlingan’s minor granddaughter which only contained a small sum of money was likewise frozen,” he said.
He also claimed that Omni Security Investigation and General Services, and Meriras Realty and Development Corp, the alleged dummy corporations of VP Binay, were originally the companies of Mercado, who incorporated and managed the affairs of the firms.
The freeze order, he said, should be invalidated because the Appeals court violated Section 2 of the Bill of Rights, which requires a judge to personally determine probable cause after examination of the complainant and the witnesses.
“The freeze order shows no indication that the justices of the honorable court personally examined, in the searching of questions and answers, under oath or affirmation, the complainant and such witnesses the latter may produce,” read the motion.
He also said that freeze order went beyond the authority of Section 10 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, as amended, which does not authorize the freezing of “related accounts.”
He added that Section 11 of the AMLA, which allows the inquiry into related accounts, was unconstitutional for violating his right to privacy, right against unreasonable search, and right to due process – right to notice, and right to be heard.
“Respondent has been maligned, slandered, and belittled as nothing more than a lackey, a servant, and a blind follower of the Vice president,” read the motion.
“In this motion, it has been established that the accusations against him are false, and it is prayed that this honorable court will correct the grave injustice committed against Respondent, and that the reliefs prayed for herein shall be granted,” it added.
The Senate has ordered the arrest of Limlingan his repeated failure to attend the subpanel’s hearings on the allegations against Binay. He was, however, not located by the National Bureau of Investigation.
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