Senator Drilon fears the Philippines may become a “haven for money launderers”; Finance Secretary Dominguez tasks BOC to alert AMLC
MANILA – Senator Franklin M. Drilon expressed concern over the huge amounts of cash brought into the country by Chinese nationals is part of a money laundering scheme of organized syndivates. He added should the conditions remain unabated, there is a possibility the country may become a haven for money launderers.
In a statement released today, the opposition leader said he was Senate President when Congress passed Republic Act 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001.
In an interview over GMA-DzBB Sunday morning, he said it is clear the country is being used for money laundering as Chinese syndicates have become scot free.
“We have never seen this kind of behavior. They seem very confident that they will not be caught,” he added. He explained while it is not illegal or contrary to law for any foreign national to bring huge amounts of money into the country, the amount ought to be reported to the Bureau of Customs, an agency under the Department of Finance.
In a separate interview, Deputy Customs Commissioner and Spokesman Atty. Vincent Maronilla said they cannot confiscate huge amounts of money after incoming passengers declare them.
He said they can only confiscate undeclared cash above US$10,000.
As far as the opposition leader Senator Drilon is concerned, the Philippines is fast becoming a haven for money launderers which may have some connections with the proliferation of casinos and Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators or POGOs in the country.
He added casinos are among the industries that anti-money laundering coalitions worldwide consider to be prone to money-laundering schemes.
Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez was quoted saying he is familiar with the issue raised by Senator Richard Gordon and the Bureau of Customs reported to him of the volument of foreign currency brought in by travelers who declared the amounts upon arrival.
“I instructed them (at the Bureau of Customs) to inform the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) about this,” Secretary Dominguez was quoted saying. (Melo M. Acuña)
Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon (Senate File Photo)