On the Need to Update the Anti-Money Laundering Act

March 5, 2020 - 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.

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