Press Release
May 16, 2012


I am not a lawyer but it seems that this is a good time to introduce amendments also to safeguard the rights, as pointed out by the distinguished Majority Leader, wherein certain issues might be used, timed properly or timed improperly and put certain people at a disadvantage.

Unfortunately, in this particular case, there is a constitutional provision that gives power to the Ombudsman but at the same time, the Congress of the Philippines also passed the Ombudsman Act. So perhaps, we might visit the Ombudsman Act and limit the powers of the Ombudsman like, for example:

1. He may only inquire from the AMLC if he have already filed or if he have established probable cause on those crimes that have already been enumerated in the AMLA.

2. He may not file a case less than 1 year before the elections.

3. We can also put limitations wherein the AMLC may not give information to the Ombudsman or any other agency requesting such information unless it specifically knows that it deals with a crime that is one of the predicate crimes mentioned in the Anti-Money Laundering Act. That would have eliminated any information on the Chief Justice or any such similar case because, actually it became blank, because they were free to ignore the predicate crimes mentioned in the Anti-Money Laundering law because they said it was a request from the Ombudsman as to what they did to the information was not to their concern any longer. It must have already been the concern of the Ombudsman.

4. We might even consider putting an amendment either in the Ombudsman law or some other laws wherein information such as this is limited to impeachable officials. And there are only 31 impeachable officials in our country, and only 2 of them are elected official and are not up for reelection anyway.

We can limit it so not everybody can be exposed to political pressure or political blackmail by somebody who is playing fast and loose with the information timed properly to destroy, say, a political campaign although he might eventually might have been found innocent of the charges.

I think passing this law is necessary. I have listened to the interpellation from the gentleman from Makati and Bicol. Because whether we like it or not, the entire world has come together to try to stop money laundering, particularly as to crimes that deal with drugs, microscopic substances, and terrorism. And our country is such a porous country as far as room for coming in from the south are concerned and we have already been caught with our pants down, as certain plots to bomb New York were hatched in Manila, or in the south. Nakakahiya naman po 'yun. Kaya we need to tighten up our own laws to be in harmony with the laws of other countries of the world so that we will be able to stop money laundering, particular for terrorism and drugs. So, ganun po.

I would suggest that we craft already our proposed amendments to the Ombudsman Act and to the Anti-Money Laundering act so that we can also limit the type of information and the use of that particular information.

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