Due process, PH style? | Inquirer Opinion

Due process, PH style?

/ 12:14 AM April 23, 2016

LISTENING to the Senate blue ribbon committee’s hearings on the money-laundering scandal makes us sick to our stomach over the sheer incompetence of the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). Not only was the council totally clueless about the cyberlarceny involving more than $80 million, its officials are now saying that despite the surrender of some of the money by junket operator Kim Wong (who said he didn’t know it was stolen), they still seemed to be at a loss what to do with that money!

In answer to the Bangladesh officials who attended the hearings and impatiently wanted to know when their government can get their money back, our AMLC officials said it depends on how fast the civil case for forfeiture will take. Huh? Why is there a need for the AMLC to file such a case? Does it still need to sue Kim Wong—to force him to turn over the money he has already handed over to it to be returned to the people of Bangladesh? What manner of idiocy is that? AMLC officials say the Republic of the Philippines, through the solicitor general, has yet to file a forfeiture case and then await a court ruling to enable them to release the money to its owner.

Be it remembered that forfeiture cases were also filed against the family of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos through the Presidential Commission on Good Government. Given the strong resistance put up by the Marcoses (asserting there were no assets to forfeit!), the cases dragged on for more than 20 years and many are still pending! In the instant case, kahit walang kalaban, what assurance is there that the court will act with dispatch to have the money returned to the people of Bangladesh? Due process, Philippine style, anyone?

—MELISSA SY QUIATAN, [email protected]

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TAGS: Anti-Money Laundering Council, Bangladesh, Ferdinand Marcos, Kim Wong, money laundering, Presidential Commission on Good Government

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