May 16, 2012
SENATE MINORITY LEADER ALAN PETER CAYETANO
1) Is Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano in favor of calling the AMLC officials to testify in the impeachment court to further shed light on the testimony of the Ombudsman?
I am interested to have the AMLC officials testify in the impeachment court on their 17-page report given to Ombudsman Carpio-Morales. However, it is the Defense or the Prosecution Panels who should request for such testimony through a subpoena pursuant to the Impeachment Rules. I believe that a testimony from the AMLC will be relevant as the representatives thereof should testify under oath as (1) to the genuineness and correctness of the contents of their 17-page report and in order (2) to detail the basis of their 17-page report like bank records deposits, especially on the beginning and ending balances of the accounts as of Dec 31 in the covered years of 2003 to 2010.
The testimony will aid the senator-judges in determining whether or not foreign currency-denominated accounts of such alleged amounts in banks are owned by the Chief Justice and whether these were included in the CJ's SALN or not.
2) If the AMLC officials are called upon to testify, what would be its impact to the ongoing efforts to amend the AMLA?
In connection to the proposed amendments to the AMLA, I also believe that the testimony of the AMLC in the impeachment court will provide the venue to inquire if a trend towards facilitating the freezing and inquiry of bank deposits for covered transactions and in running after graft - as seen in the amendments to the AMLA in RA 9160, RA 9164 and Committee Report 80 on SB 2009 - is being adopted.
The amendments on AMLA seem to reflect the global streak against corruption and money laundering - from AMLC, to CA to now the RTC, and the expansion of the ex parte proceedings from the freeze orders to even inquiry on bank deposits.
The actuations of the AMLC, and the positions of the Ombudsman on procedures in investigating the accounts of the CJ likewise indicate a trend in this direction, apparently in derogation of the bill of rights and in the safety protocols of the requirements in the present law on bank secrecy and inquiry on bank records.
3) Are you in support of the progressive view of utilizing AMLC as an anti-graft and corruption mechanism? I support the more proactive stance of the Office of the Ombudsman and the AMLC in going after grafters and corrupt officials. However it is equally as important to make sure that these policies involved in the fight against corruption still ensures that there is a balance of power among agencies and that there are enough safeguards to protect the rights of everyone.
While strengthening the AMLA as an anti-graft mechanism is well and good, there is still the responsibility on our part to install safeguards or protocols within it to protect our citizens from its possible abuse.
For one, the bill may prove to be violative of the due process clause, among which is the point on the EX Parte application for inquiring into bank accounts. I am considering proposing an amendment for the deletion of the ex parte provision.
Likewise the definition of "related web of accounts" is vague and encompassing ("materially linked"), hence prone to abuse. I see a need for clearer definition.
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