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Monday, December 1, 2014

Sandigan Asked to Junk Jinggoy's Motion on AMLC

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) asked the Sandiganbayan to turn down the motion of Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada who sought to subpoena the probe made by the AMLC into the accounts of the whistleblowers.
In its pleading submitted before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, the AMLC stressed that it could not be compelled to produce such documents before the court.
Estrada’s lawyers had submitted a motion that sought the subpoena of the probe made by the AMLC into the accounts of whistleblowers Benhur Luy, Marina Sula, Merlina Sunas, Mary Arlene Baltazar, and even Luy’s mother, Gertrudes.
Though the AMLC already received last November 21 the subpoena duces tecum that was issued by the Fifth Division, the AMLC pointed out that it “deals with very sensitive information, including bank transactions which are deemed confidential under R.A. No. 1405 (The Bank Secrecy Act).”
“Needless to say, any investigation report which the AMLC and its Secretariat may have prepared in the exercise of its investigative power may not be unnecessarily disclosed before a case is actually filed in court,” it explained in its pleading.
The AMLC added that Estrada even failed to show that his purpose in requesting the documents is “in line with the investigation and prosecution of a money laundering offense or any unlawful activities defined under R.A. No. 9160 (Anti-Money Laundering Act), as amended.”
“For that reason, the AMLC cannot validly give its consent or authorization on the disclosure of such AMLC report,” said the Council.
The AMLC also noted that it is not in possession of the original records of all bank transactions made by the whistleblowers.
If Estrada believes that the production of the documents is not a violation of the Bank Secrecy Law, the AMLC indicated that “we see no reason why the subject subpoena duces tecum may not be directed to the concerned banks instead of the AMLC.”
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