AMLA outshines impeachment trial in Senate caucus

May 21, 2012 10:36 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, May 21 – While almost every adult Filipino maybe anticipating the testimony of Chief Justice Renato Corona in his own impeachment trial on Tuesday, the proposed amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) outshone the impeachment issues in a Senate caucus on Monday.

”Nothing unusual (on CJ’s appearance). In fact, the AMLA amendment is more controversial when we discussed it in caucus,” Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said without giving further details.

The majority leader said the period of interpellation on the three proposed bills on the AMLA amendments will continue during the morning regular session on Tuesday.

At 2 p.m., the Senate will resume the impeachment trial with Corona expected to testify and explain his alleged assets not reported in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

Sotto said the Senate is hoping to approve the AMLA amendments along with some local bills before the sine die adjournment of the second regular session of the 15th Congress on June 7.

”We can only tackle the AMLA amendments. The Reproductive Health bill will not be finished,” Sotto said.

Last week, Senators Teofisto Guingona III and Serge Osmena III pushed for the immediate passage of Senate Bill No. 3123 which aims to expand the definition of money laundering and the list of unlawful activities.

The bill expands the covered institutions and individuals for money laundering which will include foreign exchange corporations, money changers, remittance centers and similar establishments, pre-need companies, casinos, real estate agents, and precious stones and metal dealers.

One of the unlawful activities that will be penalized under the measure is terrorism, including the conspiracy to commit terrorism.

The bill likewise enumerates the predicate offenses that will include bribery, frauds and illegal exactions, malversation of public funds and property, forgeries and counterfeiting, and violations of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.

Two other amendment bills of the AMLA have been filed in a bid to avert the prospect of being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The two measures are Senate Bill 3127 or an Act defining the crime of financing of terrorism and SB 3009 or An act to further strengthen the AMLA. (PNA)

scs/jfm

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