AFTER President Rodrigo Duterte ranted in public against its slow action on requests for assistance, the Anti-Money Laundering Council finally submitted a long-awaited report on the bank accounts of people allegedly involved in narcotics trafficking.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II noted that it took all of two months for the AMLC to submit documents that were supposed to be included in the criminal charges that were to be filed by the National Bureau of Investigation against drug traffickers and coddlers.
“After the President issued his warning to the AMLC in his speech at about 3 p.m. [on Monday], the NBI finally received a response from them at around 4:30 p.m. or in less than two hours,” Aguirre said, in an interview.
Aguirre noted that the report that was finally submitted was obviously prepared even before the NBI submitted its charges against drug traffickers and their coddlers although it was dated November 11.
“We had been waiting for a response from AMLC for several weeks so the NBI could include it in the complaint. But because of the delay, the NBI could no longer wait and filed the case and decided to just pursue the AMLC report while the case is pending,” he lamented.
Asked what he thought could be the reason behind the delay on the part of AMLC, the Justice secretary said it would be up to the public to conclude.
In his speech during the foundation anniversary of the NBI last Monday, Duterte warned the AMLC and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to cooperate with his administration’s efforts to run after laundered money.
“I’d like to warn you, to avoid a confrontation between us, central bank people… I will call for you and you have to answer so many questions to me. You choose, either we cooperate in this government as a Republic to protect and preserve our people or make it hard for us [and] I will make it hard for you,” Duterte said.
Aguirre earlier aired his frustration against the AMLC, saying it has been giving the NBI a hard time in building a case against De Lima.
He said he was surprised by the AMLC’s foot-dragging on the case when it was able to immediately look at the records then of former Vice President Jejomar Binay when he was investigated by the Senate on corruption allegations when he was still mayor of Makati City.
Aguirre also believes that the Duterte’s frustration with the AMLC can also be traced back to the election campaign when Senator Antonio Trillanes IV accused him of having P200 million deposited in a bank.
Duterte said that if only the council investigated, the public would have been informed that the allegations were false.