By Lee C. Chipongian

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno has established a closer coordination and cooperation with the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) in a more empowered way under the amended BSP Charter, which was signed into law last February by President Duterte.

diokno 2 - BSP enhances working ties with anti-money laundering unit

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin E. Diokno. (Bloomberg photo)

The AMLC implements and enforces Republic Act No. 9160 or the “Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (AMLA),” as amended, and RA No. 10168, also known as the “Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 (TFPSA).”

The BSP, in a statement, said the central bank and AMLC renewed and updated a 2007 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) since – among other things – the amended BSP law as RA No 11211, now also covers money service businesses, credit granting businesses, and payment system operators, aside from banks and non-banks with quasi-banking operations.

“This MOA represents another chapter of collaboration and information-sharing between the AMLC and the BSP,” according to the BSP. “As the country’s situation has evolved through time, the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing have changed, particularly in the effective implementation of the rules governing the administrative proceedings before the AMLC.”

The statement added that the AMLC “ensures that the Philippines will not be used as a money laundering site for proceeds of any unlawful activity” and that it will remain secure from terrorism financing. “The AMLC (is) empowered to investigate money laundering and terrorism financing; prosecute these crimes; and cause the confiscation of criminal proceeds,” it said.

President Duterte in the past has severely criticized the AMLC because it was not cooperating with the government’s campaign against illegal drugs by producing evidence of laundered money by drug lords.

The BSP, in the meantime and in a different issue, has denied in 2017 that it was the source of alleged leaks of Duterte’s bank accounts. These alleged bank accounts was made public by Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV.

The AMLC primarily ensures that covered persons are compliant with the provisions of the AMLA, its implementing rules and regulations (IRR), and other AMLC issuances. The AMLC has power to slap administrative sanctions.

Diokno, as BSP chief, is chairman of the AMLC. He signed the MOA with AMLC Executive Director Atty. Mel Georgie B. Racela.

The BSP said the AMLA IRR, set last year, gives power to supervising authorities such as the BSP, to “assist the AMLC in implementing the AMLA and TFPSA by supervising, assessing, and monitoring compliance with anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) requirements through the conduct of AML/CTF inspection, examination, audit, or other mechanisms deemed appropriate.”

“(Governor Diokno) assures to uphold effective collaboration between both institutions by way of enforcing the Information Exchange/Compliance and Enforcement Policies between the BSP and the AMLC, most especially the provision on the Coordination Committee, which facilitates the close coordination and cooperation between the BSP and the AMLC,” said the BSP.

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