Bicam approves bill amending AMLA law

February 5, 2013 11:19 pm 

By Jelly Musico

MANILA, Feb. 5 – The bicameral conference committee Tuesday approved a reconciled version of respective measures expanding the list of covered persons required to report financial transactions to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

The bicam deleted casinos, including internet casinos from the list of covered entities after both Senate and House panels agreed they have ran out of time to settle on the disagreeing provision of the bill.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has proposed the removal of the casinos during the Senate deliberations but Senate Bill 3123 sponsor Teofisto Guingona III objected but allowed Enrile to insert a proviso.

The bicam panel also removed proviso which says “obligation to report to the AMLC shall only arise when there is knowledge or suspicion of money laundering.”

”The House panel opposed the inclusion of the casinos,” Guingona told the media after the bicam meeting.

The bicam committee also agreed to remove from the list of covered transactions the buying and selling of real estate of at least P25 million and instead allows the Land Registration Authority to monitor the real estate transactions whether these are being use to launder money.

Guingona expressed optimism that the Financial Action Task Force will accept the reconciled version and not put the country in the blacklist.

”I’m sure both the Senate and the House will ratify the bicam report in our last day of session on Wednesday and submit it in Malacanang for signature of President Benigno Aquino III,” Guingona said.

The reconciled version approved by the bicam was the third AMLA amendment pushed to spare the country from being blacklisted by the FATF.

The Senate has already passed SBs 3127 and 3009 which recently signed by President Aquino into law.

SB 3127 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act seeks to allow authorities to freeze terrorist funds and punish any person who assisted in acts of terrorism.

On the other hand, SB 3009 seeks to allow the AMLC to inquire into bank deposits based on an ex-parte application and allow courts other than the Court of Appeals to issue freeze orders. (PNA)

HBC/JFM

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