Press Release
March 1, 2020

Drilon fears PHL is becoming a 'haven for money launderers'

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon is convinced that the huge amounts of cash brought into the country by Chinese nationals is part of a money laundering scheme of organized syndicates, fearing that "the Philippines is becoming a haven for money launderers."

Drilon was Senate President when Congress passed Republic Act 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001.

"Sa akin, maliwanag na ginagamit ang ating bansa para sa money laundering. Talagang lumalaganap at lumalakas ang loob nitong mga Chinese syndicates at nagiging haven tuloy ang ating bansa for money launderers," Drilon said in an interview with radio station DZBB on Sunday.

"We have never seen this kind of behavior. They seem very confident that they will not be caught," he added.

Drilon said that while it is not illegal for any foreign national to bring huge sums of money into the country, the amount must be reported to the Bureau of Customs.

Drilon said the country becoming a haven for money launderers may have something to do with the proliferation of casinos and Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators or POGOs in the country.

The minority leader said that casinos are among the industries that anti-money laundering coalitions worldwide consider to be prone to money-laundering schemes.

Drilon said that he suspects that the millions of dollars brought into the country between December 2019 to February 2020 would be laundered through casinos and POGOs.

Drilon said any casino transaction of over P5 million should have gone scrutiny by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

Republic Act No 10927 puts casinos under the coverage of Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), he noted.

"Any cash transaction of P5 million or its equivalent in other currencies are covered by the law and must be reported to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC)," Drilon explained.

He said he supports the investigation to be conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon.

Drilon said the investigation must see how the executive branch is implementing the law, particularly on the compliance of casinos, PAGCOR, banks, among other covered institutions in reporting suspicious transactions.

Drilon also reiterated his support for a total ban on POGOs, saying that the industry has no contribution on the economy.

"The POGOs do not contribute to our gross domestic product. If any, it is very minimal. They only created an artificial bubble on the real estate industry. What is their contribution? We are not even sure if they even pay taxes," Drilon said.

"They are not manufacturing which generates employment. They are not agrictural which provides us food security. They are not tourists who provide us income," he said.

News Latest News Feed