Philippines backs freezing of dubious accounts

Jun. 20, 2007

MANILA — Malacanang bucked today criticisms against the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) for freezing questionable bank accounts, saying the agency was just doing its job as mandated by law.

“The Palace is supportive of the AMLCs efforts to effectively implement the AMLA (Anti-Money Laundering Act) because as Chief Executive of the government, the President is duty-bound to see to it that all laws of the land are implemented and that all government agencies execute their respective mandates,” Press Secretary and concurrent Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye said in a statement.

“Ferreting out illegal funds and transactions” is the job of the AMLC, he added.

Bunye was reacting to statements of opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson questioning the councils freezing of P1.2 billion suspected to be laundered funds.

AMLA, or Republic Act (RA) 9160, which took effect in 2001, states that “it is the policy of the state to protect and preserve the integrity and confidentiality of bank accounts and to ensure that the Philippines shall not be used as a money laundering site for the proceeds of unlawful act.”

Bunye said Malacanang “recognizes and respects” the independence of AMLC and supports its mandate as the “countrys financial intelligence unit.”

AMLC has frozen P1.2 billion in dubious bank accounts on suspicion of being dirty money or laundered transaction.

Under the AMLA, a transaction is considered “suspicious” if it involves at least P500,000 changing hands in a single banking day.

AMLA also requires banks and other financial entities to report to the AMLC all questionable transactions for appropriate action.

The AMLC reported that it had found an average of 400 suspicious transactions a month during the period from January to May this year. (OPS) (

comments powered by Disqus