The bringing of huge sums of money in and out of the country in past months with seeming impunity indicates the urgent need for action from our government, not just by the Executive but also by the Legislative. Our authorities should keep up with, if not keep one step ahead of, criminals who are trying to do the same.
While there is need to address the corruption that is one big reason for authorities’ tolerating money laundering, there is also a need to take a long, hard look at gaps in our existing laws, including the Bank Secrecy Law and the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
On the other hand, the amendments to these laws should also make sure that they cannot be weaponized for political purposes. Speaking from experience, I have been at the receiving end of such abuse of the law by the likes of Ador Mawanay, Mary “Rosebud” Ong, Victor Corpus and the Arroyos, who prompted me to waive my rights under the Bank Secrecy Law and challenged them to withdraw all the dollars they claimed I owned. And acting from those experiences, I proposed amendments to the AMLA and filed a bill excluding all public servants from the Bank Secrecy Act.
To better equip Philippine authorities to fight money laundering, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson has filed a bill expanding the coverage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) to include Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) such as casinos, real estate brokers, and dealers of art works and motor vehicles.
Lacson, in Senate Bill 45, said the Financial Action Task Force has noted how money launderers now use such businesses and professions to cover their illegal transactions, with the casino industry seemingly attractive for those undertaking money-laundering activities.
“While the contributions of the (casino) industry are acknowledged, it is also understood that casinos are equally exposed to the raging threats of money laundering,” Lacson said in explaining the inclusion of casinos in the AMLA’s scope.
Ipupurisige ni Senador Panfilo Lacson ang krusada laban sa pagpasok sa bansa ng salaping kinita sa mga ilegal na aktibidad o money laundering activities.
Sa Senate Bill 45 na inihain ni Lacson na naglalayong amyendahan ang umiiral na Anti-Money Laundering Act sa bansa, dinagdagan pa ng mambabatas ang mga aktibidad na ibibilang sa mga babantayan kaugnayan sa nabanggit na ilegal na transaksiyon.
Kabilang sa mga aktibidad na imomonitor ng mga awtoridad batay sa panukala ni Lacson ay ang operasyon ng mga casino, real estate brokers, mga nagbebenta ng artworks at maging mga negosyante ng mga mamamahaling sasakyan.