Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday said the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) was wrong in assuming that his wealth was acquired through illegal means.
“I do not have 242 accounts. Only five accounts included in the freeze order are under my name. And all the funds in these five accounts were acquired legally. They are not hidden wealth. AMLAC is really wrong,” Binay said.
“The AMLAC claims that my government salary is my only source of funds and it does not match the amounts in my bank accounts. This is not true. My accounts include income and savings before I joined the government. We also have businesses that are already decades old. We pay taxes. Even legal campaign contributions, which have been reported to the Comelec, were described as ill-gotten by AMLAC,” he added.
The vice president lamented that the AMLC report, which was the basis for the Court of Appeals to issue a freeze order against the bank deposits of Binay, members of his family and his allies, was one-sided because it did not include his response.
“You have fiction writers and manghuhulas not only in the Senate. You can find them in the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLAC). With the leakage of the AMLAC report, it is clear that my detractors are willing to violate the law in their bid to destroy me,” Binay said in a statement.
“AMLAC even included the bank accounts that have already been closed. AMLAC is definitely wrong.They make it appear that the 237 accounts and transactions of other individuals are mine. This is simply not true and is just made up,” he added, noting that the AMLC report is part of the conspiracy to destroy his chances of winning in next year’s presidential elections.
But President Benigno Aquino 3rd said the Liberal Party (LP) has nothing to do with the freeze order.
“Hindi ko nakita ang AMLC report na ‘yan. Number two, ‘yung isang kausap kong taga-Liberal Party kanina, sabi niya sa akin naghahanap rin siya kung sino ang may kopya ‘nung AMLC report [I have not seen that AMLC report. Number two, the one person from the Liberal Party I was talking to earlier told me that they’re also looking for a copy of the AMLC report],” Aquino said in a radio interview.
The President also stressed that the process that led to the freezing of Binay’s bank accounts was undertaken by an “independent body.”
Also on Thursday, Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) urged the AMLC to peek into the bank accounts of the allies of President Benigno Aquino 3rd and the ruling Liberal Party (LP) chaired by the President.
“If the AMLC is not being used by the Liberal Party, then the AMLC should prove its independence by opening the bank accounts of the administration allies who are linked to scams. In this way, we can be assured that this move [to freeze assets]is tainted by politics,” UNA’s Interim President Toby Tiangco said in a statement.
Tiangco said some allies of the president were linked to the P10 billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam but their accounts were not questioned.
He mentioned Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Technical and Education Skills Development Authority Director Joel Villanueva and former Customs chief Rufino Biazon.
Of the three, only Biazon has been charged at the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Merlina Suñas and [Mrs. Janet] Napoles have said that Secretary Abad was Mrs. Napoles’ client and friend, but why is it that Abad’s assets were never frozen but that of Mrs. Napoles was frozen? The Aquino administration is using the Binay issue as a smokescreen to deflect attention of their allies’ wrongdoings,” Tiangco said.
He also trained his guns on Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice whose SR Metals Inc, San R Mining and Galeo Equipment and Mining Corp. ventures with Eric Gutierrez earned billions of pesos in selling two million metric tons of nickel, which is higher than the 50,000 to 150,000 metric tons threshold per year.
“Had the AMLC bothered to check their bank accounts?” Tiangco asked.
“The contents of the Vice President’s bank accounts will be reflected in his SALN and the taxes that he paid in the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue). If they will find something there which is not in the SALN, then they can freely take it back,” he added.
With Catherine Valente