Press Release
May 15, 2012

Sponsorship Speech
Senate Bill 3123

May 15, 2012

Mr. President, Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

The practice of money laundering evolves: both in its nature and its ways. The mind of a crook continues to diversify the crook's schemes to hide unlawfully acquired funds and properties. This is because money laundering methods and techniques vary. These methods and techniques become more sophisticated and elusive in time. In response, the government should continue to update and formulate effective and potent counter-measures to address this problem. Our very own Financial Intelligence Unit - the Anti-Money Laundering Council - should be allowed to carry out its mandate using national and international standards.

With these realizations in mind, allow me to answer, as a legislator, the question, "What is the Philippines doing to address money laundering?" I stand before you today, as Chairperson of the Sub-Committee on Anti-Money Laundering Amendments, to present, and to ask for your support, for the immediate passage into law of Senate Bill 3123, which aims to amend and to strengthen the present Anti-Money Laundering Law.

Senate Bill No. 3123, as embodied in Committee Report No. 145 proposes the following:

FIRST: Expanding the definition of money laundering. The current law limits the punishable act to the transaction of laundered funds and property. This means that the accused must enter into a contract of sale, donation, or similar transactions before he can be made liable. Our proposed amendment seeks to likewise punish "conversion, transfer, movement, disposal of, possession, use, and concealment or disguise" of the monetary proceeds of a criminal act.

SECOND: Expanding the list of COVERED INSTITUTIONS AND INDIVIDUALS or those who are required to submit covered and suspicious transaction reports. This is in recognition of the fact that money, nowadays, is not only laundered through banks but also through a whole gamut of institutions which will now be covered by our proposed amendments: foreign exchange corporations, money changers, remittance centers and similar establishments, pre-need companies, casinos including those which operate online gaming, real estate agents, dealers in precious stones and metals, and several others. We are expanding the list because we know that as we tighten the noose on those using the formal banking system to launder ill-gotten funds, they have begun to look at other tools in which they can park such funds. It looks like from simple money laundering, they are now resorting to dry cleaning them too.

THIRD: Expanding the list of "UNLAWFUL ACTIVITIES" OR PREDICATE OFFENSES under Section 3(i) of the current AMLA law. They include the following:

  • Terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism as defined and penalized under R.A. 9372

  • Bribery under Articles 210, 211, 211-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended and corruption of public officers under Article 212 of the revised Penal Code, as amended;

  • Frauds and Illegal Exactions and transactions under Articles 213, 214, 215 and 216 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended;

  • Malversation of Public funds and Property under Articles 217 and 222 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended;

  • Forgeries and counterfeiting under Articles 163, 166, 167, 168, 169, and 176 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended; and

  • Violations of Sections 4 to 6 of Republic Act No. 9208, otherwise known as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, among others.

FOURTH: Any person charged with and convicted of both the offense of money laundering and the unlawful activity may also be prosecuted for TAX EVASION on income derived from such unlawful activity.

FIFTH: With respect to CIVIL FORFEITURE, the existence of a covered transaction report is no longer sufficient to apply the Revised Rules of Court on Civil Forfeiture. Now, there must first be a determination of probable cause that any monetary instrument or property is found to be related to an unlawful activity or a money laundering offense.

This bill is an important step in generating the necessary political will to bring about relevant and necessary legislative reforms to combat money laundering.

Thank you, Mr. President.

News Latest News Feed