Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday said that the leakage of the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s (AMLC) report that led to the freezing of his bank accounts has created a “chilling effect” on the business community.
Speaking at the 36th National Conference of Employers, the Vice President warned that the freeze order “creates a chilling effect on confidence in the business and banking system that is detrimental to our economy and development.”
Binay described the AMLC report as “whimsical” and expressed hope that the issue would be resolved soon.
“Let us all hope this whimsical use of regulatory powers is stopped sooner than later,” he said.
The AMLC report has led to the freezing of 242 bank accounts, five of which are under the Vice President’s name.
However, Binay said he was not surprised that AMLC’s report had been leaked to other parties even as he himself has not yet received a copy.
“I will no longer question how the report leaked because I knew for a fact why it was released,” he said.
Binay jested that he hopes no one among the participants will be invited to attend the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee hearings for being called his friend.
“Now that I have referred to you as dear friends, I hope you will not get an instant invitation from the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee to prove you are not my dummies, and your companies, not my dummy corporations,” he quipped.
“It is also my prayer your bank accounts will not be subjected by AMLC to a freeze order solely on the basis of our friendship and association, or the fact that you are in the same room as Jojo Binay,” he added.
The Vice President lamented the release of the court order, saying it is being used to persecute persons affiliated with him.
“Such is the sad fate of some honest and hardworking businesspersons I know. They are publicly ridiculed, intimidated and harassed, and their bank accounts now frozen simply because they happened to be my friends,” he said.
He noted that AMLC’s report was one-sided as it has yet to include his response to the findings.
“The report is one sided because we were not given the chance to explain our side,” said Binay, adding that AMLC is wrong.
Binay clarified that the funds in his bank accounts came from his income, savings and investments before he joined government, as well as the campaign donations when he run for Vice President in 2010.
He also stressed that the campaign contributions he received were duly reported to the Commission on Elections.
“I am hopeful that our business sector remains resilient to the oppressive heat of politics and remain focused on the bigger tasks ahead,” he added.
Meanwhile, Joey Salgado, head of the Office of the Vice President for Media Affairs, belied claims in the AMLC report that the money transfers to Synnovate, Synnovate Ltd. and David Rink Consultancies in Canada are illegal.
“Had AMLC bothered to do a simple Google check they would have known that these companies are legitimate market research companies. They were paid for services rendered,” Salgado said.
“This is another clear proof that AMLC misled the Court of Appeals into issuing the freeze order. Now, the publication of the leaked report is misleading the public, which was the objective of those behind the leak,” he said.