MANILA – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday stressed the need to “address the gaps” in the country’s existing banking and finance laws following the influx of alleged dirty money into the country.
“The bringing of huge sums of money in and out of the country in past months with seeming impunity indicates the urgent need for action from our government, not just by the Executive but also by the Legislative,” Lacson said in a statement.
He said one way for authorities “to keep up with, if not keep one step ahead of,” criminals who are trying to do the same, is for government to stamp out corruption and address the weaknesses of existing laws.
“While there is need to address the corruption that is one big reason for authorities’ tolerating money laundering, there is also a need to take a long, hard look at gaps in our existing laws, including the Bank Secrecy Law and the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA),” Lacson said.
“On the other hand, the amendments to these laws should also make sure that they cannot be weaponized for political purposes,” he added.
Lacson made the statements as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, chaired by Senator Richard Gordon, started public hearings on illicit activities presumably connected with the rise of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) in the country.
During the hearing, Gordon bared that an estimated USD633 million in cold cash was “suspiciously” brought into the country in the last seven months alone.
He said the money was flown in by at least 60 individuals hired by organized syndicates. (PNA)