AMLC stands by report sent to Ombudsman

Posted at 05/18/12 2:40 PM

MANILA, Philippines - An official of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) stands by its report on the financial transactions of Chief Justice Renato Corona involving millions of dollars, which the Ombudsman presented to the impeachment court last week.

"You can rely on the presumption of regularity of the performance of our duty," said Atty. Emmanuel Dooc, commissioner of the Insurance Commission, in a chance interview after a committee hearing in the Senate on Friday.

The governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas chairs the AMLC, with the commissioner of the Insurance Commission and chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission as members.

Dooc said the data that the AMLC submitted to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales were culled from reports banks regularly submit to the agency.

Under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, banks and other covered institutions are required to submit to the AMLC information on "covered and suspicious" transactions.

He added that the council unanimously approved submission of the report on Corona's transactions to the Office of the Ombudsman.

The defense had expressed doubts about the authenticity of the data that Morales presented in the impeachment trial. According to Morales' analysis based on the AMLC report, Corona has $12 million in "fresh deposits" in 82 bank accounts.

"They should have subpoenaed us so we could have established the authenticity," Dooc said.

Dooc also denied allegations the Aquino administration is using the AMLC to harass Corona, who is at odds with the President.

"I will not allow myself to be used as a political tool to promote the interest of anyone," he said. "All the other members of the council will never allow such thing to happen. We're all professionals and I don't think anyone can assail the integrity of the members of the council."

Corona and his defense lawyers have described the AMLC report as a "hoax" and "fabricated." They have also claimed that the Office of the President is using the AMLC to harass the chief justice.

Meantime, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the chief justice should have declared all his dollar accounts in his SALN, regardless of its number. Valte said these are considered as assets. 
"From where we stand, yes, these are assets. They are no different from peso deposits. If you put them on parallel with each other, there is also the bank secrecy act that governs the disclosure of peso deposits. 'Yung peso deposits nilalagay po natin 'yan [sa SALN]. The SALN law does not distinguish between deposits in local currency nor in foreign currency. It says it should be included in assets, all assets," Valte said. -- with a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News