Trillanes-AMLC smear campaign strategy against Binay now being used vs Duterte

Saturday October 07, 2017 ()
Trillanes-Abad

The claimed "illicit" relationship between Senator Antonio Trillanes and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has unraveled from Rody's loose lips but which is mostly the source of brutal candor.

Duterte's revelation about the romantic link between Trillanes and former AMLC executive director Julia Bacay-Abad seems to have placed pieces of the puzzle that has eluded the public on Trillanes' ease in obtaining records from the AMLC dating back to the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee inquisition on former Vice President Jojo Binay.

In a Palace briefing, Duterte told reporters that "a certain" Abad in the AMLC is the mistress of Trillanes and from whom the senator has been obtaining classified AMLC documents.

The controversy involving the AMLC in the smear campaign against Binay happened after Trillanes' lackey, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, distributed to media copies of a Court of Appeals (CA) freeze order covering 242 bank accounts that were made to appear to be under the name of Binay.

The CA action was based on AMLC documents which would come from only one source.

Trillanes then apparently succeeded in having the AMLC seek a CA move on the accounts being linked to Binay.

Binay's lawyer deplored the violation of the strict confidentiality of a proceeding involving an ex parte petition for a freeze order which was issued based solely on the representations of AMLC.

The respondents are not given the opportunity to be heard which makes an ex parte freeze order proceedings strictly confidential, with those violating the confidentiality rule being liable for contempt as well as criminal prosecution.

The CA order in effect was intended to allow the AMLC to determine the credibility of the bank accounts and does not in any way mean that the accounts were frozen because these were illicit funds.

The same strategy is now being employed against Duterte to generate public outrage through leaked documents from the AMLC.

Trillanes' alleged amorous links with AMLC aside, what has been continuously overlooked is that under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), the law which created the AMLC, the leaking of the AMLC reports is illegal and is not admissible as evidence in court.

The law also states that those responsible for the leak should be criminally liable since evidence of the money laundering investigations can only be known by the AMLC in the performance of its duties.

The mere use of leaked documents including putting it out as news is a criminal act based on the law.

Now United Nations Ambassador Teddy Boy Locsin, who was among those who crafted the AMLA, said legislators foresaw the possibility of the law being exploited for political persecution and, thus, safeguards against the law being used for political ends were installed.

For instance, he said the publishing or broadcasting of anything uncovered by AMLC is punishable by heavy fines, cancellation of franchises and by jail.

He said such foresight was brought about by the belief that no one "wanted a law that allows the government that included extortionists and kidnappers in high office to have access to bank data regarding what they earn, what they profited from, and even what they stole".

Section 9 of the AMLA said the report of a covert or any suspicious transaction or any contents thereof or information derived therefrom cannot be communicated to any person or media. Locsin said:

"Media get special mention. Thus, it is criminal to publish or to air in any manner or form of mass media or electronic mail and other similar devices, even so little as that a covert or suspicious transaction report was made, what more the contents of an account or information related thereto."

A provision introduced by Zamboanga City Representative Celso Lobregat in AMLA also indicated that "this act shall not be used for political persecution or harassment".

The provision has been cited by Solicitor General Jose Calida in making Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang liable after exposing a seemingly flawed summation of AMLC documents apparently supplied by Trillanes in claiming to reporters that P1 billion in bank transactions were coursed through bank accounts of the President and members of his family.

Duterte's revelations show the extent of debauchery Trillanes is capable of in his schemes.

Sources:

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