AMLC insists on shielding records from Jinggoy Estrada’s eyes
MANILA — The Anti-Money Laundering Council has insisted to the Sandiganbayan that it cannot grant former Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada’s request to release its reports on the financial transactions of alleged pork barrel scam architect Janet Lim-Napoles.
In a 15-page motion for reconsideration dated March 13, the AMLC maintained that the documents sought by Estrada were confidential and irrelevant to his plunder case.
Estrada had requested “any and all AMLC memoranda” on Napoles’ transactions, as well as memoranda which AMLC said involved “purely internal matters” on investigative techniques which were “immaterial and irrelevant” to his plunder case.
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, in its Feb. 21 resolution, did not give weight to AMLC’s invocation of confidentiality. It said this contention “does not inspire belief” and agreed with Estrada that the claim lacked basis.
But the AMLC reiterated that one of Estrada’s requested documents, an internal memorandum submitted by the AMLC secretariat to the AMLC, was only recommendatory and did not reflect the body’s final decision.
The memorandum also involved not only Napoles but also the investigation of individuals without any pending case in court or are still being probed.
Allowing Estrada to access the memorandum “would not only violate such confidentiality but would also jeopardize the ongoing investigation of the AMLC,” read the appeal.
The AMLC has also disagreed with the court’s pronouncement that Estrada is entitled to know its methodologies and techniques to determine whether the investigation on him was done with regularity.
The motion insisted this was irrelevant because the document “would neither establish the probable connection between accused Estrada and the financial transactions of Ms. Napoles nor explain why accused Estrada is being indicted for the crime of plunder.”
The AMLC also invoked confidentiality in refusing to release the covered transaction reports (CTRs) and suspicious transaction reports (STRs) related to Napoles’ transactions. (CTRs cover transactions exceeding P500,000 in a single day, while STRs involve those with red flags including disproportionate amounts that deviate from previous transactions and possibly arise from unlawful activity.)
The office said it has been prohibited from revealing the transaction reports under Section 9(c) of the Republic Act No. 9160, as employees who violate this provision may be held criminally liable.
In any case, the AMLC stressed that the CTRs and STRs of Napoles’ transactions did not form the bases of the pork barrel scam inquiry report on Estrada.
Estrada faces a plunder case for allegedly receiving P183.8 million in kickbacks in exchange for diverting his Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations to fake foundations linked to Napoles. The actor-politician also faces 11 counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. SFM