Binay camp protests asset seizure during poll period
THE CAMP of Vice President Jejomar Binay has cried foul over the latest effort of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to seize his assets in spite of a legal prohibition during the election period.
“It looks like the Vice President’s enemies will not stop pressuring him and making life difficult for him and his family,” Binay’s spokesperson for political concerns Rico Quicho said in a statement on Sunday.
Quicho said the AMLC filed a petition for civil forfeiture on Nov. 12 against Binay, his son, dismissed Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, and 62 other individuals and corporations as part of the agency’s investigation into the Binays’ alleged hidden wealth amassed through anomalous government deals.
The AMLC accused the Binays of stashing away billions of pesos in 242 bank accounts.
The civil forfeiture petition came one day after the lapse of the original six-month freeze order on the Binays’ assets.
On the strength of the AMLC petition, the Manila Regional Trial Court issued a 20-day Provisional Asset Protection Order on Nov. 13 on several accounts, including one under Vice President Binay’s name, Quicho said.
“Even if there’s no basis and it’s against the law, the AMLC has again petitioned the court for an asset protection order” against the assets of the Binays and their associates, Quicho said.
He noted, however, that this time the AMLC had asked the Manila court to freeze only one Binay account with a deposit of P1.7 million, “an admission that it had no solid evidence against the Vice President.”
Quicho said the AMLC’s petition was a blatant violation of Republic Act No. 1379, which prohibits the filing of civil forfeiture cases against public officials “within one year before a general election or within three months before a special election.”
He said the prohibition was explicitly provided for in the law to deter political harassment.
“This is a clear abuse of authority on the part of the AMLC, whose only aim is to destroy the reputation of a political adversary of the administration,” the spokesperson said.
“Besides the fact that there’s no basis and evidence, Vice President Binay has always said that agencies of government are being used against him through demolition by perception,” Quicho said, adding that this included his son’s suspension from office.