Monday, 18 February 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Saturday, February 16, 2013

Aquino signs amended Anti-Money Laundering Law

President Benigno S. Aquino III signed Friday Republic Act 10365 or the law called “An Act Further Strengthening the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001” giving more teeth to the existing laws against money laundering.

Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday that the amended law is the third component of the government’s action plans that it has committed to the Finance Action Task Force (FATF).

The new law revises and expands the definition of money laundering as a crime. It now criminalizes knowingly possessing, using, transporting, acquiring, concealing, moving and disguising criminal proceeds, Valte explained.

Valte also said that the signing of R.A. 10365 will satisfy the requirement of the FATF, as it is expected to review the Philippines’s compliance on February 18 to 22 in Paris, France.

“We’re very hopeful that with the passage of this particular law, makita naman ng FATF na talagang seryoso tayo sa commitment natin na labanan ang money laundering,” she said.

“And, in fact, ang mga opisyal ng AMLAC ay paalis mamayang hapon or bukas para makarating sila sa meeting with the FATF at ipadadala na nila ang compliance natin sa mga points ng action plan.”

The law will put enough safeguards against illegally acquired money or assets because it makes banks accountable for accepting dirty money. Before the amendment, money laundering was confined to the transaction of the proceeds of a particular crime, Valte said.

But with the amendment, the Philippines now complies with the UN Convention versus Illegal Drugs, the Transnational Organized Crime, Crime and Corruption and the UN Political Declaration against Money Laundering.

R.A. 10365 was also to cover more predicate crimes, Valte said. From 14 it now has 34 predicate crimes. It now includes environmental crimes, human trafficking, bribery, corruption of public official, currency counterfeiting, sexual exploitation of minors, and terrorism financing.

Terrorism financing was the subject of an earlier law that was signed by the President—the R. A. 10168, which he signed on June 18, 2012.

The new law also covered more institutions mandated by the government to report dubious transactions. It now includes non-financial businesses and professions.

The law also now requires jewelry dealers and real estate dealers to report to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLAC) suspicious transactions.

AMLAC also now has power to require the Land Registration Authority and all Registries of Deeds to report covered transactions that are considered dubious.

Asked if the government must also include casinos in the list of covered entities, Valte said the government must first evaluate casino operations before lawmakers decide on doing new amendments. PND (as)

Palace to candidates: Report NPA extortion activities

Malacanang appealed to candidates running for this year’s midterm election not to give in to the demands of the New People’s Army (NPA) asking huge amount of money for the candidates to enter rebel strongholds to campaign.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported that the NPA is charging candidates as high as P5 million per candidate for permit to campaign as well as permit to win.

In a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan Saturday, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said NPA’s extortion activities must be stopped, asking candidates to report to authorities if they are approached by the rebels.

“That is not something that is required, that is not something that is tolerated, at umaapela tayo doon sa mga kumakandidato na let’s not give in to these demands, especially, sinasabi nilang pang-campaign permit daw ito and to report to the proper authorities kapag merong ganitong panghihingi sa inyo,” Valte said.

Valte made the appeal not only to administration candidates, but also to all candidates who are running to shun the practice.

The military said the NPA’s campaign fees ranged from P50,000 to P5 million, or P5 million from the candidates for governor, P500,000 from the candidates for vice governor or congressman, P100,000 from the candidates for provincial board member or mayor, P75,000 from the candidates for vice mayor, and P50,000 from the candidates for councilor.

The rebels ask money from candidates to ensure their victory in areas controlled by the rebels. PND (as)

Palace welcomes Malaysia’s commitment for speedy turnover of alleged scam leader to Philippines

Malacanang welcomed the pronouncement of the Malaysian government that said it is working for the early turnover to Filipino authorities of alleged investment scam ringleader Manuel Amalilio.

Amalilio, who has been facing charges in the Philippines, allegedly defrauded 15,000 investors from Mindanao and the Visayas of P12 billion. He is the owner of Aman Futures Group Phil. Inc. who was earlier arrested in Kota Kinabalu.

“We welcome that statement. I understand that was conveyed by the Malaysian Foreign Minister to our Secretary of Foreign Affairs; at our DOJ, and the members of the NBI as well. The DFA will continue to work with their Malaysian counterparts to ensure the turnover of Mr. Amalilio to Philippine authorities,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

Valte also assured victims of Amalilio not to lose hope because the government is doing everything to bring him back to the Philippines so that justice could be served.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman told Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that he is strongly advocating the early turnover of Amalilio to the Philippine government.

The DFA said that Anifah also confirmed to the secretary the order of the Malaysian attorney general to freeze Amalilio’s assets in Malaysia.

Amalilio, who also uses a Malaysian name, was arrested by local authorities in Kota Kinabalu on January 25 and was charged early this month for possession of a fake Philippine passport.

He was sentenced to two years in a Malaysian jail after pleading guilty to the offense. PND (as)