• Aquino’s vilest political weapon: AMLC

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    Perhaps the vilest weapon that President Aquino has wielded against his political opponents is the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

    Make that its Executive Director, rather than the three-man council itself, composed of Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. as chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Teresita Herbosa and Insurance Commission Chairman Emmanuel Dooc.

    I clarify that because quite strangely in the AMLC’s most controversial–I would even say disgraceful–cases, Tetangco wasn’t involved. He was “coincidentally” abroad when these cases came up. Actual AMLC orders pertaining to these controversial cases—if there really were and if these were approved by the commission itself—have never been disclosed.

    They did it before Ombudsman Morales on May 14, 2012, at the Senate impeachment court waving AMLC “documents.” A huge hoax, the “documents” spoke of Corona’s “huge” dollar accounts.

    They did it before: Ombudsman Morales on May 14, 2012, at the Senate impeachment court waving AMLC “documents.” It was a huge hoax, as Morales added transactions over nine years, not balances.

    Tetangco should disclose who recommended as AMLC executive director in late 2013 Julia Bacay-Abad, who replaced Vicente Aquino. I was told it was Liberal Party president and Senator Franklin Drilon.

    As if to mock the nation, AMLC’s decision freezing bank accounts of Vice President Jejomar Binay, his family and alleged associates, came nearly three years to the day, on March 14, 2012, when Aquino first used the council against a perceived political enemy of his.

    His target three years ago was Chief Justice Renato Corona, whom Aquino at the height of his political strength took out from his post, giving  senators bribes raised through the Disbursement Acceleration Plan in order to do that.

    The crucial move that provided the cover for the Senate’s vote–so the bribes won’t be so obvious–was the dramatic televised testimony of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on March 14, 2012, at the Senate impeachment trial. Morales cited AMLC “data” showing that Corona had $28 million in 82 dollar accounts in five banks. She even had a PowerPoint presentation that showed what seemed to be the labyrinthine movements of Corona’s accounts.

    A huge hoax

    In her penchant for the theatrical, Morales even waved in the air an alleged AMLC report. It was all a huge hoax, however.

    In fact as I wrote in my column at the Philippine Daily Inquirer the first chance I could get after her performance in the Senate:

    “Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ allegation that Chief Justice Renato Corona has $12 million in dollar accounts will go down in Philippine history as one of the biggest and most deviously constructed deceptions ever foisted on the public.” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, “Colossal deception on Corona’s accounts,” May 17, 2012)

    First, it wasn’t an AMLC report. In a legal maneuver, then executive director Vicente Aquino would disclose that he merely responded to the Ombudsman’s request and submitted to her “AMLC raw data” on Corona’s bank accounts. But there wasn’t a resolution by the AMLC to report to the Ombudsman Corona’s accounts, nor to release any data on these.

    Second, it wasn’t even Morales who analyzed the raw data. It was Heidi Mendoza, a retired Commission on Audit officer handpicked by President Aquino as COA member, going over several more senior and qualified officers of the agency. In fact, Mendoza even tried to be in the television limelight by attempting to explain the “AMLC” report. She was asked to sit down though by Senate President Enrile as nobody had authorized her to do so.

    And third, and more important, Morales and Mendoza’s “analysis” was  a hoax.

    They counted the amounts reported in the transactions of Corona’s accounts over nine years, not the balance of his accounts. So, for example, $25,000 put in a time deposit and withdrawn when the term ended was counted to be $50,000 by Morales and Mendoza.
    Even the temporary account such money was put into after the term ended was interpreted by the two as an attempt to conceal the amount.

    Did Corona have $12 million, as Carpio-Morales melodramatically claimed as she waved what she said were AMLC documents? No. It was just about $1 million, and most senators, I would bet, had 10 or even 50 times that. Why, even pork-barrel rat Benhur Luy has been reported to now have P170 million in his bank accounts, or $4 million.

    While thinking Filipinos saw through the hoax, Morales didn’t even apologize about it. The Senate–we now know why–didn’t even bother to ask Morales why she tried to fool the impeachment court and the nation. It just sped up the trial, and voted Corona guilty two weeks after the AMLC “data” falsely portrayed the Chief Justice as having huge dollar accounts.

    Strict confidentiality

    Because one’s bank accounts go to the heart of the issue of citizens’ privacy, the AMLC law, Republic Act 10365, prescribes strict confidentiality rules on its investigations, on disclosing the data it acquires from the banks. The law’s section 7 is quite categorical:

    “When reporting covered or suspicious transactions to the AMLC, covered persons and their officers and employees are prohibited from communicating, directly or indirectly, in any manner or by any means, to any person or entity, the media, the fact that a covered or suspicious transaction has been reported or is about to be reported, the contents of the report, or any other information in relation thereto. Neither may such reporting be published or aired in any manner or form by the mass media”, electronic mail, or other similar devices. In case of violation thereof, the concerned officer and employee of the covered person and media shall be held criminally liable.”

    I cannot understand why Morales wasn’t made liable for disclosing AMLC “raw data” at the Senate trial. As an officer of the law, she could have informed the Senate that laws prevent her from doing so. But no, she even had prepared a PowerPoint presentation shown on a huge screen at the Senate hall so everybody would be shocked at Corona’s alleged accounts.

    In a more civilized society under the rule of law, there would have been such public outrage against Carpio-Morales that she couldn’t have stayed in her post a day longer.  Not here, of course.

    If Aquino and his cohorts could do it then, they, of course, feel they could do it again. Now the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) came out the other day with a list of over two dozen
    persons “associated with Binay” whose 242 bank accounts were allegedly frozen by the AMLC.

    Why is it that Nancy Carvajal of that newspaper always manages to report such crucial information–for instance the first COA reports on the pork barrel findings — which only President Aquino’s operators would have?

    Whether the report of a freeze order proves true to the last detail, it is obviously intended to falsely portray Binay as a crook, a desperate move by Aquino to stop Binay’s run for the presidency. Who remembers, or even knows, that Carpio-Morales’ claim on Corona’s “huge” dollar accounts was a hoax? Already, that disgraceful PDI report, published as a banner story detailing Corona’s accounts, has been allowed to go viral with 15,000 “shares” in its internet version. Will Binay’s rebuttal be given the same banner treatment and disseminated to have as much “shares”?

    This recent move by President Aquino is also obviously intended as a signal to Binay’s current and potential financiers: “Better avoid him like a plague, or you’ll be classified as his associate and have your accounts frozen.”

    Why do we allow this Administration to ride roughshod over the nation, to throw to the dustbin all values of decency and fair play?

    During Marcos’ dictatorship, you would just be detained, released several months or even a year later, if you were his political enemy. Under Aquino, your integrity and reputation, with the help of media, will be besmirched forever.

    Even an institution such as AMLC, set up mainly for the global war against terrorism and illegal drugs, has been converted into a political weapon. And in Binay’s case, he’s not even a political enemy, but the front-runner in the 2016 elections.

    What kind of country have we become?

    First they came

    A famous anti-Nazi poem by Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller is as follows:
    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Replace “they” with “Aquino and his cohorts,” and that reminds me of the positions Senators Enrile, Estrada, Revilla — and now Binay — had taken. Our political leaders should by now know that by heart.

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    35 Comments

    1. This is the only president who prostituted all government agencies for his own pleasure and his LP cohorts. It never happened from all the past presidents until this animal came and was elected by the machines which were clearly manipulated in his favor. How to stop this devil with all his power to destroy the country beyond repair is for the people to decide. Don’t vote for any LP candidates this coming 2016 election. Let the people punish all the cohorts of this animal in malacanang to suffer the same fate of oblivion in the coming election. That is the only weapon from each and every citizens against the power of guns, and money by this administration. Enough is enough. People should not give any votes to the LP and punish them all for abusing their power and robbing the people of their hard earned money paid as taxes. this old lady conchita must be kicked out from ombudsman for allowing herself to be used by aquino in taking revenge on his political enemies.

    2. you guys think twice before you vote in this coming presidential election.
      vote wisely and intelligently.
      don’t be ignorant and bobo-tante.
      good luck to you guys.

    3. Ronaldo Valdes on

      i don’t understand this article.. Are you telling the public that corona ..The highest supreme justice is Dumb…Thet he did not use his power and connection to the Supreme Court ( the Highest court of the land) and One of the Highest Branch of Goverment to depend himself on all this accusation or because he was guilty just like the person who put him in that position.

    4. Migs Doromal on

      “First they came.”

      Blame it on Jejomar. He had seen the writings on the wall. They all did. But, they didn’t do a thing about it. Call it stupidity after all these guys are no ordinary guys in the political arena. They all have the 3G’s – guns, gold, and goons (JPE, Jinggoy, Bong Revilla, and Jejomar.)

      I am amazed, however by the audacity and clever execution of whoever crafted this strategic plan to assault all perceived political nemesis of Mar’s already doomed quest for the highest post in the land in 2016. Mar will never win except of course if they do the Tabako way which explains why the LP is moving heaven and earth to pass the BBL! With BBL in the bag, your guess is as good as mine. All the votes from MILF territory are LP votes.

    5. Who is telling the truth? Admin or opposition? Both are deep in hatred against each other. The Boss who are the people may settle for the most promising and outsider next President in the person of Duterte and if Grace Poe is wise, run as his Vice President and be his successor in 2022. I am in contact with so many leaders from Mindanao and the Visayas and people want peace and progress for all.

    6. Screaming and sweeping statements or generalizations, for all intents and purposes, make headlines. By print , more so by the main stream broadcast media: radio and tv. As the saying goes, bad news sells such as scandals. On exposes, declarations by whistle blowers under the Philippine setting is stage-managed. TheFilipino populace in general must discern thoroughly and well. Figure out the political undertones and which party is in power. Who are power, money and attention starved? And Why? Aren’t they under-achievers? Did they not resort to corrupting and hoodwinking? The Liberals, the yellows and oligarchs had done that, have done that and will do it again should the Filipino public remain gullible.What is simply a stage act by B. Luy, showmanship by c. morales-carpio, plus the tv media hype? The making of a blockbuster, directors f. drilon and b. abad

    7. Johnny Ramos on

      Pnoy and his allies can get away with it for now. This President have all branches of our government under his thumb. The only he does not have is the masses, he can not convince them to propel Mar Roxas. They even have to manipulate the survey that Mar is gaining grounds. Now they manipulated it that Grace Poe is catching up with Binay. With Binay still leading they resorted to AMLC as prelude to impeachment. Those who are saying that Congress can no longer impeach Binay must joking. The power of the pork is the God of our congressmen and Pnoy has all the power to release it so he makes the rule. This vast power of Pnoy was exactly the same reason that Imee Marcos decided not field his younger brother for presidency because they will be annilated. Tatanawin pang utang na loob ni Binay kay Pnoy pag na impeach siya because he will tell Jojo buhay ka pa.

    8. the thing is. most people already pre judge the binays by saying they stole billions because of documents presented to the public. always remember that our country is govern by law and not of men. let cases be filed and let the rule of law prevail.

      • so it is the law that prevails against the enemies of Aquino, where is the law now when it comes to aquino and his party? obliti legem? the politicians can always make the illegal legal to serve their purpose. For every little good thing they do, they other hand is doing worse, grabbing the people’s money. You have to see what is inside their corrupt minds. think outside of the box. you cannot judge them to be nice because they look nice. scratch the surface and you will see they are so rotten underneath, Aquino is the puppet and because of his psyho problem, he thinks differently, and his men know how to manipulate that mental defect to make him make decisions for them all.

    9. The people are aware and can sense all the hideous political machination being conducted by the Liberal Party against the more popular and prominent opposition leaders. This yellow LP regime is not only an insult to the Filipino people but a curse to the nation.

    10. How do you know Binay stole 16 billion pesos ? Just like GMA in jail but NO
      Proven crime , all allegations , Binay is innocent Until proven guilty and not the other way around ( guilty until proven innocent ) .

      • Ronaldo Valdes on

        Sorry, The phillipine laws is the reverse here in US.. there you’re guilty until proven innocent, the burden of proof is
        on the defendant, here in US you are innocent until proven guilty, then the burden of proof is on the prosecutor.. All the binays should do is to prove that they are innocent and they will be exonorated on all this charges.

    11. genesisbughaw on

      Peace be with you!

      If that is the case…institutions handling binay’s empire are all prostitutes.
      Is that what you mean?

      Pag di nila na prove yan…mostly likely pnoy and all his noynoying babes after his term will be most welcome by PGMA in where PGMA is now.

    12. Lord Chimera on

      Now some people would say that the AMLC’s extra-legal tactic is justified when exposing Binay’s accounts. A stupid reasoning if there was one since using extra-legal means in any situation set precedents for breaking the rule of law in “good faith” and eventually eroding the rule of law into strong-armed lawlessness…just like Hitler did. But what really makes the AMLC’s extra-legal measure very distasteful is the fact that not one of BSA’s allies and friends are subjected to this kind of thing only opponents are suffering from this treatment. That’s is plain hypocrisy.

    13. Kung wala mang nagsasalita o pumapanig kay VP Binay, kasalanan nya lahat ito. Hanggang ngayon nililito nya pa rin ang mga tao. Oposisyon ka ba o kaalyado? Bakit hanggang ngayon na malinaw na malinaw na pinaglalaruan ka na ng Liberal Party, ayaw mo pa humiwalay kay Abnoy? Hindi sya makakakuha ng boto sa akin kung hindi sya magbabago. Ibig kasi sabihin noon, kung sya maging presidente, pababayaan lang nya ang mga ginawang kagaguhan ni PNoy. Wag na lang!

    14. P.Akialamiro on

      It’s really scary. With all the illegal moves, missteps, blunders, etc., on one hand, and indifference, insensitivity and ineptitude of the governing powers-that-be, on the other hand, resulting in unabated poverty due to lack of mployment or underemployment, natural calamities and crime, I wonder if we’ll have a “house in order” to last long.

      There’s too much politics, but less concern to the immediate needs of the citizenry. The government functionaries are busy with accusations, investigations and protracted hearings that the overall governnance is a total failure. No substance.

      The Aquino government is rapt with the BBL, falsely believing that it can forge a lasting peace agreement from the very beginning by just getting the acquiesence of a certain group, but not all of groups who are supposed to participate. It was a haphazardly prepared agreement. While the government is seriously working on the BBL, the governmet’s row with China was not attended to with urgency. Yet, the legislative branch seems to be acting in unison with the executive branch. Adding insult to the injury, there seems to be “nary a soul” in the government who is standing steadily against all these happenings, nor a private group actively ever decrying all these anomalies.

      Now, with the next major elections coming soon, there are candidates being groomed for the presidency or vice-presidency. One is being accused of ‘curruption and having a dynasty’, and the other is a ‘neophyte and a celebrity’.who taking advantage of the name of his famous father. Another candidate is from the major party who, despite being a major cabinet member, he has not evinced any remarkable track record. He is just a reflection of the current president, an oligarch personified. Are these all we are voting for as far as the top positions are concerned? Any other candidate with a clean slate and track record of honesty, intelligence and excellence? Where have all the likes of Tanada, Pelaez, Sumulong, Tolentino, Marcos, Padilla, Osias, Flavier, etc. have all gone?

      ‘Wawa naman ang Pilipinas!

    15. Leodegardo Pruna on

      Government is no longer credible with incompetent and corruptible officials out there to enrich themselves. Lately, the ombudsman and the retired coa commissioner adding millions of pesos to their coffers in so short a time as reported in the dailies. God bless the Philippines.

    16. Kale Alaskador on

      So what can we do about this?

      Mag-aantayan na lang ba tayo?

      So why don’t you or somebody press charges?

      Or shall we just hope for a military take-over?

      • who will press charges and who will be charged? anyone in the public is just a mote in their eye. a drop of water in a bucket and will have no power. write your sentiments in the ballot, watch the boxes. all the people in every village should be on the watch and scream if there are illegal moves, if everybody work as one, we will have power to overthrow the very powerful who wants to stay in power forever while draining the coffers of our country and giving away our land piece by piece.

    17. Rigoberto, what if there are grounds for frezing their bank accounts. Do you want corrupt officials caught. If so how do you propose they catch them. Maybe they could ask the people concerned direct, did you steal this money. Now thats a good idea isnt it. & what would their answer be, no i didnt steal anything. Ok thank you. You need people to be able to investigate these people. If there is no evidence they will be found not guilty, if there is evidence & enough of it they could be found guilty. We should also get rid of this bank secrecy law, look for how long corona was able to hide his ill gotten wealth & all because of the bank secrecy law.
      Investigate anyone who is suspected of stealing from this country, if guilty jail them if innocent tell all they are innocent & let them continue with their career.

    18. Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) is proper and good body to investigate and prevent further abuse and plundering of government officials and erring citizens. The information should not remain a secret once officially determined and acted upon. The public has the right to know.

      If Binay sues, the he will be obliged to tell the truth noting but the truth in the court. He will be digging his own grave.

      • Maximiano Sumaoy on

        If VP Binay is really that innocent, what made him refuse to appear before the Senate Committee hearing? By appearing, he will be able to explain his side much less neutralize pending issues.

    19. Senator Grace Poe should be careful, the Liberals might be setting a trap for her. They would like her to believe that she is highly considered by them to be the Liberal Party’s standard bearer but in fact not. Time is of the essence as Mar tour the country for support and finally the bomb shell will be drop on her, that she is only good for the VP.
      Certainly with the sweat and tears that they invested to perpetuate power, Senator Poe is more of a trap against them in the future because of her declaration as a “principled ally”.
      What reform are they talking about…Senator Poe though with less experience is smart enough to know that the poor’s life was never uplifted by this administration.
      And it is precisely on that premise that the poor will be Senator Poe’s weapon to bring her to the top because throngs of poor people will vote for her in 2016…
      The plunderers of our nation are too scared that their own ally will be running after them even they made her as a standard bearer.
      With good people around her, Senator Poe can riddle all these political trap..at least with her, there is hope against hoplessness because she is fresh, uncorruptable and
      above all knows how to respect the law . “So with or without the Liberals Senator Poe is a contender for the highest position of the land”…..a reality that we have to accept
      right now because we have no choice except to choose from a political celebrity or political dynasty….
      ….

      • I am really amazed that Grace Poe is being touted as presidential timber. She has no credentials except popularity and has no experience in political leadership, with only two plus years in the Senate. Her popularity stems from her last name out of sympathy for her late adoptive father who was cheated by GMA. But she has questionable DNA and before we all fawn over her, she should undergo a test to show that she doesn’t have the bloodline of a crook as rumored from way back when. Just saying, one man’s opinion. If you want a real fearless and honest crusader, go for Trillanes. Or Duterte.

    20. This is why this government is worst than Marcos. And they ( government ) didn’t know that they are sowing seed of hatred and injustice in the heart of their opponents and even to ordinary citizens who understand what they are doing. People are educated nowadays and what they are doing is a reminiscense of the mentality of the previous dark days of barbaric people. Sooner or later they will harvest what they sow.

      • No one should fear the AMLC. Only the THIEVES with millions of accounts in the banks are obviously upset…….Let all honest Filipinos support AMLC.

    21. Nancy Bulok Cake on

      That’s not the point. The point is. Binay stole billions of pesos (P16 Billion). Where in the hell did Binay get 16 billion pesos deposits? We citizens of this country have the right to know. Why is it that if judgements are in favor of Binay, you seem to tolerate Binay’s wrongdoings. It is an open secret now that the Binays amassed wealth illegally. We just wish the family of Binay and his accomplishes will rot in hell (jail). All the the family family and his cohorts will always say is political harassment. It’s about to face, explain your amassed wealth.

      • the thing is. most already think that the binays stole billions by mere presentation of documents to the public. but we should remember that our country is govern by law not of men. let cases be filed and let the rule of law prevail.

      • Cristina J. Aganan on

        Is it already proven under the law that he stole that amount. All these are just senate hearings, trials by publicity by his political opponents. No case yet filed in court. I am not saying that I am for Binay for President. Still waiting for a better alternative. But stop na Senator Trillanes and Koko Pimental. Get down to the jobs we voted you for. We need laws to better the lives of the poor and improve peace and order in our country.

      • Firestarter on

        Relax, don’t believe with what you see in the yellow newspapers and television. Let us wait till the proper case is being filed against the VP. The law will give him an ample time to set his defenses in court. Every citizen has a right to be heard, to meet face to face of the witnesses produced by the yellow army, to produce his own evidence in support of the allegation hurled against him. Do not panic as we have a constitutional rights being provided by our constitution. We will see if these yellow regime can prove that a person is indeed committed a grave offense which would justify their accusation in public.