Press Release
March 8, 2012


To protect the country's financial integrity, Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III, together with Senator Sergio Osmena III, has filed Senate Bill No. 3123 which seeks to amend various provisions to the Anti-Money Laundering Act of the Philippines. Malacañang has certified the measure as urgent.

In advocating for the immediate passage of the measure, Sen. Guingona believes that this is a positive signal of the Philippines' commitment to the international financial community of ensuring that the country's banking system are bolstered by safe and lawful instruments.

"The international community classifies the Philippines as a high risk environment when it comes to banking practices. We strongly believe that an enhanced AMLA law would contribute greatly to a more positive perception of the country's banking system," Sen. Guingona said.

In explaining the significant amendments found in his proposed bill, Sen. Guingona stated that there is a need to expand the list of offenses related to money laundering and this will now include, among others, terrorism, bribery, malversation, carnapping, and tax evasion.

Moreover, Sen. Guingona proposes to penalize activities which result to the conversion, transfer, and disguise of dirty money. He pointed out common examples where stolen money is used to place huge bets in casinos, buy expensive jewelries for later sale, acquiring real estate properties, or transferring them to the accounts of family members as in the infamous case of General Ligot.

"There is indeed an urgency to put more teeth to the AMLA law, not only to make the Philippines compliant with international standards, but also to ensure that our banks are not being used as havens for unlawfully acquired funds. This is very important for the country's financial integrity and economic development," Sen. Guingona said.

Likewise, Sen.Guingona is currently sponsoring a measure which seeks to allow the Anti-Money Laundering Council, through a court order, to inquire into bank deposits based on an ex parte application, which means that there is no need to inform the owner of the account. The same measure seeks to allow courts other than the Court of Appeals, to issue freeze orders. These courts include the regional trial courts and the Sandiganbayan.

Sen. Guingona said the bills serve to reinforce the country's legal framework on anti-money laundering and to ultimately curb all forms of money laundering in the country.

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