Monday, February 2, 2015

Inquiry, disclosure of bank accounts ‘related’ to Jinggoy illegal

MANILA-The Anti-Money laundering Council (AMLC) may have gone too far of its investigation into bank accounts of certain persons and breached privacy laws, as it was revealed by own admission of the prosecution panel that there was no petition for freeze order on the bank accounts of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.
A petition for freeze order is an essential requirement by Republic Act 9160, as amended (Anti-Money Laundering Act) before the AMLC can actually proceed with its investigation into the “related accounts” of its subjects.
According to the AMLC law, the term “related accounts” which may be subject to bank inquiry by the AMLC refer to the “accounts, the funds and sources of which originated from and/or are materially linked to the monetary instrument(s) or property(ies) subject of the freeze order(s).”
“Indeed, in the absence of any freeze order, there is no legal basis to subject the alleged ‘related accounts’ as identified in the AMLC Inquiry Report, to the AMLC’s bank inquiry.  In other words, the bank inquiries conducted on the alleged ‘related accounts’ were done in violation of Republic Act No. 9160, the laws on bank secrecy, and the account owners’ constitutional rights to privacy, to be secure in their persons, papers and effects, and to be accorded due process, among other rights,” the defense lawyers said in their reply to the opposition of the prosecution with regard to the Motion to Suppress/Exclude the AMLC report filed by Sen. Estrada.
The said “related accounts” belong to Mr. Francis Yenko, formerly holding a directorial position in the office of Sen. Estrada and currently the City General Services Officer of the City of Manila, and Juan Ng, among others.
Consequently, AMLC also violated confidentiality provisions for unlawfully divulging the findings of their bank inquiry as it was earlier leaked to a newspaper, even before the same could be presented or before the AMLC representative’s testimony was heard in the ongoing bail proceedings in Sandiganbayan Fifth Division.
A malicious banner report published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer stated that Yenko and Ng acted as “dummies” and “conduits” for Sen. Estrada’s alleged kickbacks and commissions from Janet Napoles and her bogus non-government organizations (NGOs). Sen. Estrada vehemently denied the accusation.
“First of all as I have repeatedly mentioned before, I never authorized anybody, Mr. Ng, Mr. Yenko, or whoever to transact with my PDAF. So whatever transactions that they may have, if they have any, I have nothing to do with it,” Sen. Estrada previously said in a statement.
“The prosecution and the AMLC’s utter disregard of the law and continuous blatant violation of constitutionally guaranteed human rights in their pursuit to vilify and crucify is truly frightening. Lahat na lang ay gagawin nila, labag man sa batas, kahit taliwas na sa tama at mga umiiral at legal na proseso, para lamang ako ay pabagsakin at para ako madiin dito sa sinasabing PDAF scam. Hindi ako makakapayag at ipagtatanggol ko ang aking karapatan,” Jinggoy said.

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