Showing consistency in fighting corruption will play a major role not only in restoring the trust of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other international financial institutions, but can solve many other problems that beset our country even as we grapple with the effects of the pandemic, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Monday.
Lacson said that while legislation against money laundering – especially of ill-gotten wealth – and terrorism financing is important, the key is the consistent implementation of existing laws.
“One of the reasons we were included in the FATF’s gray list in 2012 is that the FATF wanted us to address deficiencies in countering terrorist financing, among others. In response, Congress passed Republic Act 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012. This was further enhanced by RA 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. This may, however, call for further measures such as amending our existing Bank Secrecy Act, to address a major source of corruption. What we need is to make it difficult, if not impossible, to hide or launder ill-gotten wealth. This would be a big deal in helping stop corruption,” he said.
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.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) may have to give up its operation of casinos, if a bill filed by Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson is passed into law.
Senate Bill 1471 aims to address Pagcor’s “conflicting” roles of regulating and operating gambling casinos by having the agency focus on regulating the industry and giving up its role as operator of such establishments.
“In order to promote a level playing field in the gambling industry and avoid conflict of interests, Pagcor should cede its role as operator of all gambling and gaming activities. Through such manner, it can focus and put premium to its regulatory authority, which is its governmental role,” Lacson said in his bill.
Mula sa kasalukuyang mabibigat na tungkulin at obligasyon batay sa kautusan ng batas, mababawasan na ang mga trabahong nakaatang sa mga balikat ng Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) kapag naging batas ang panukala ni Senador Panfilo Lacson.
Sa Senate Bill 1471 na inihain ni Lacson, layon nitong pagaanin ang trabaho at bawasan ang kalituhang dinaranas ng mga opisyales ng PAGCOR sa pamamagitan ng pagtatanggal sa karapatan na makapag-operate ng mga casino at iba pang mga libangan na kauri nito.
Kung magiging ganap nang batas, ang pagbibigay na lamang ng permit to operate sa mga pribadong casino at gaming establishments ang magiging pangunahing trabaho ng PAGCOR.
Philippine law enforcers may soon have more teeth against dangerous crimes like drugs, money-laundering and coups, with a bill filed by Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson allowing wiretaps against those involved in such cases.
Lacson’s Senate Bill 48 seeks to amend Republic Act 4200 to include certain crimes where wiretapping may be deemed lawful under certain circumstances.
“(W)iretapping, though limited in its applications, has been an effective tool by our law enforcement agencies against criminal elements who have wreaked havoc, instability and lack of equanimity in our country to the detriment of many of our peace-loving citizens. Unfortunately, there are still certain crimes that are not covered under the said exceptional cases, which put not only the lives and property of our people in paramount danger, but also pose a grave threat to our nation’s security. The peace-and-order situation in the country gives testament to this fact and thus, it is imperative for us to revisit RA 4200 in order to further enhance its effectiveness,” he said.
Dapat na i-wiretap ng mga awtoridad ang mga linya ng komunikasyon ng mga indibiduwal o grupong sangkot sa ilegal na droga, money laundering at pagpapatalsik sa pamahalaan upang ang mga ito ay madaling mausig at mapanagot sa batas.
Ito ang pangunahing layunin ni Senador at dating Philippine National Police Chief Panfilo Lacson sa paghahain ng Senate Bill 48 na naglalayong amyendahan ang Republic Act 4200 o ang Anti-Wiretapping Law para baguhin ang mga probisyon tungkol sa mga binabantayan na kalaban ng lipunan at mga awtoridad.
“(W)iretapping, though limited in its applications, has been an effective tool by our law enforcement agencies against criminal elements who have wreaked havoc, instability and lack of equanimity in our country to the detriment of many of our peace-loving citizens,” paliwanag ni Lacson sa kanyang panukala.