Duterte says ‘I will treat you as drug addicts’
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday told officials of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to resign, claiming they were playing politics and hampering the government’s anti-corruption efforts.
In remarks after signing the 2017 national budget, Duterte described the BSP and AMLC officials as a bunch of crooks who were still “hungry” for money despite their fat salaries, but did not name names.
“I’m going to charge all of you there, criminally. I’ll count one to three, and if you don’t resign, I will treat you as a drug addicts,” he said.
“You guys there are all corrupt, bantay kayo sa akin [I’ll keep an eye on you]. I will bring you down. [BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr.] is about to retire. Better prepare there because I’ll give you a whack. You are all, you are all corrupt and serving [a]master. You are not supposed to engage in politics, God damn it,” the President said.
Duterte even threatened to transfer the country’s monetary reserves to overseas banks.
“You are paid you to do your job. If you cannot do your job, get out from that office because I’ll transfer to the
Bank of China. They have more money. Your money is nothing. Or Bank of America, when we get, when I get to shake the hands of [US President-elect] Donald Trump,” Duterte said.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd clarified that Duterte was only asking for the resignation three AMLC officials, two of them embattled Sen. Leila de Lima’s “fraternity brothers.”
“The President was referring to the people implementing the law. The one in the office of the executive director, the deputy, and the head of investigation,” Aguirre told reporters in a chance interview in Malacañang.
The AMLC’s executive director is lawyer Julia Bacay-Abad, who is assisted by lawyers Ruel Bumatay and Ma. Rhea Santos-Mendoza. The agency’s compliance and investigation group is headed by Vencent Salido, also a lawyer. Roland Villaluz, another lawyer, heads the legal services group.
The higher-level council is composed of Tetangco, Securities and Exchange Commission chief Teresita Herbosa, and the head of the Insurance Commission, a vacant position as its erstwhile head, Emmanuel Dooc, has been named president of the Social Security System.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has been requesting from the AMLC documents for its investigation into drug-related transactions involving de Lima, who is accused of getting protection money from drug syndicates in the New Bilibid Prison.
Aguirre has complained that while the DOJ had received documents from AMLC, these were incomplete.
In contrast, bank records of personalities targeted by the previous Aquino administration—the late chief justice Renato Corona and former vice president Jejomar Binay—had been leaked to the media.
This was not the first time the President lashed out at the BSP and AMLC.
President Duterte on November 14 hit the BSP and AMLC for being “hard to deal with” and for protecting money launderers.
“The Secretary of Justice now says that you are hard to deal with. You better go to the Secretary of Justice or I will go to you. I will call for you and you have to answer so many questions to me,” the President said in remarks during the 80th founding anniversary of the National Bureau of Investigation last month.
The President also challenged the BSP and the AMLC to explain why they did not look into reports that he had P211 million in bank accounts, which he supposedly did not declare in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.