The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) on Friday denied that it is being used by Malacañang to probe the alleged hidden wealth of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Vencent Salido, AMLC officer-in-charge, said the agency will never allow itself to be used as a tool for political persecution or harassment.
Salido was reacting to a report by The Manila Times saying the Office of the Ombudsman
has asked the AMLC to file a petition with the Court of Appeals (CA) in order to examine the bank accounts of Binay and his family.
The Manila Times report, he said, has “unfairly put the AMLC in a bad light.”
A well-placed source of The Manila Times, however, said the Ombudsman had requested the AMLC to check the bank accounts of the Binays in view of pending plunder charges against the Vice President.
But Salido wrote to The Manila Times to deny this, saying “it [AMLC] is not, and will never be, beholden to anyone but the Filipino people.”
“Please be informed that the AMLC is an independent government agency fully committed to combating money-laundering and helping preserve the integrity of the financial system,” he said.
Salido added, “Since its creation in 2001, the AMLC has been effectively pursuing investigations on suspected money-laundering activities, and where the evidence warrants, filing appropriate cases before the courts as required by law.”
“Based on Section 10 of Republic Act 9160, as amended, also known as the Anti-Money Laundering Act, the AMLC is authorized to “inquire into or examine any particular deposit or investment, including related accounts, with any banking institution or non-bank financial institution upon order of any competent court based on an ex parte application in cases of violations of this Act, when it has been established that there is probable cause that the deposits or investments, including related accounts involved, are related to an unlawful activity,” he said.
“Rest assured that the AMLC will continue to discharge its legal mandate without fear or favor,” Salido added.