The Court of Appeals (CA) has issued a freeze order over the assets and bank accounts of self-confessed drug lord Franz Cabilao Sabalones from Cebu.
Sabalones was named in a so-called narco-list disclosed by President Rodrigo Duterte in August last year.
An 18-page resolution by Associate Justice Carmelita Salandanan Manahan of the CA 8th Division has given credence to a petition of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to freeze the bank accounts of Sabalones.
“After a careful examination of the allegations stated in the application, as well as supporting documents attached herein, the court [CA] is convinced that there is indeed a reasonable ground to believe that the bank accounts and real properties are related or have connection to the unlawful activity and/or money laundering offense.”
Section 4 of the AMLA Law states, “Money laundering is a crime whereby the proceeds of an unlawful activity as defined in the law are transacted, thereby making them appear to have originated from legitimate sources.”
The court mandated banking institutions and government agencies “to desist from allowing any transaction, withdrawal, transfer, removal, conversion, concealment or other disposition of the bank accounts and all related accounts as well as properties” under Sabalones’ name.
The CA order shall last for six months.
Among the covered banks under his accounts are BDO (1 account) and Wealth Bank (2 accounts).
Six pieces of real property in San Fernando, Carcar City and Cebu City, all in Cebu province, are also covered by the freeze order.
An AMLC probe discovered that Sabalones has as much as P70-million withdrawals in his bank accounts and from April 19, 2011 to September 11, 2012 he made bank deposits ranging from P8 million to P519.3 million.
Also, he was able to acquire the pieces of real property covered by the freeze order – 3,204 square-meter property in Barrio Balud, San Fernando in Cebu; 7,137 square-meter property and 21,387 square meter property in Tabionan also in San Fernando; 34,379 square-meter property in Barangay Poblacion III, Carcar City; 64,998 square meter property in Barangay Guadalupe in Cebu City; and 24,872 square meter lot in Barrio Tabionan in San Fernando.
Last August 7, Duterte made public a list of politicians, police and military officers allegedly involved in or protectors of the illegal drug trade and Sabalones was one of those identified by the President as vice mayor of San Fernando, Cebu.
It was discovered, however, that the local official is the brother, not Franz Sabalones.
The following day, Sabalones voluntarily surrendered to Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa in Camp Crame in Quezon City where he confessed that he was formerly an underling of Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, alleged top drug lord in Central Visayas.