MANILA – Senator Richard Gordon on Thursday said he wants members of a certain “Rodriguez family” to attend the next hearing of the Blue Ribbon Committee to shed light on their participation in the alleged entry of huge amounts of dirty money into the country.
In an interview, Gordon alleged that the Rodriguez family members are apparently mules used by organized syndicates to bring in large amounts of “dirty money” into the Philippines.
The chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee said an estimated USD633 million, or around PHP32 billion, in cold cash was “suspiciously” brought into the country in the last seven months alone by around 60 individuals, which included the Rodriguez’s.
Gordon said of the total amount, USD283 million were brought in by members of the Rodriguez family, particularly a certain Elizabeth who was able to bring in USD42.5 million from September 2019 to February this year.
He said another family member, a certain Simon John, was held by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) officers on Sept. 26, 2019, for failing to declare USD700,000 in cash upon his arrival from Singapore at NAIA Terminal 2.
Despite his arrest, Simon John was still allowed to travel at least 40 times, during which he transported a total of USD32.6 million, Gordon said.
“Just last night (Wednesday), at least three members of their family were again caught bringing in millions of dollars to the country. As before, they were released after declaring the money,” Gordon told reporters after the hearing.
He said the amount comprises of HKD30 million, USD700,000, and USD600,000.
Gordon said the assumption that an organized syndicate is behind the Rodriguez’s is bolstered by the fact that the family brings in the money with seeming impunity.
“You don’t’ lose USD700,000, it was confiscated, but then you still continue. That means they’re doing this for other people,” he said.
“Their admitting (declaring) it doesn’t prove provenance, where the money came from. Somebody’s making money out of this,” Gordon said.
At least seven members of the Rodriguez family, including Elizabeth and Simon John, were invited to appear in Thursday’s hearing, but were not able to attend allegedly due to “lack of preparation.”
Gordon said the Rodriguez’s may just be buying time and taking notes of the proceedings “to find out if we have anything on them.”
“Pag dumating mga Rodriguez, dyan magkaka-alaman san nanggagaling yang pera (When the Rodriguez’s appear, we are going to find out where the money came from). Where the money is coming from is a matter of national interest,” he said.
“We will arrest them if they do not appear in the next hearing,” Gordon said.
The next hearing of the Blue Ribbon Committee on the money laundering issue is set on March 12. (PNA)