Who has the US$100M laundered in RP now? PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 March 2016 13:58

KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS

BY Atty. BATAS MAURICIO

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved…” (Acts 4:12, the Holy Bible).

* * * *

WHO HAS THE US $100 M LAUNDERED IN RP NOW? What baffles me the most in the on-going controversy over the US $100 million or so that was stolen from the US Federal Reserve Bank and then wired into dollar accounts at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) in Makati City is the apparent lack of interest of almost everyone to determine where that big money ultimately went.

I mean, US $100 million is P5 billion, more or less, in Philippine pesos. Any serious inquiry on this issue must therefore focus not only on how the money entered our country, but, more importantly and necessarily, on who ultimately got it. As of now, there are allegations that after having been released by the RCBC Makati City to a financier operating in big casinos here, the money already was remitted to Hong Kong.

But, nobody knows for sure. Surely, with all its vast powers on tracing laundered money, the Philippine Anti-Money Laundering Council (or AMLC) should already know whether that money is still here or already remitted abroad. If it is still here, the money must be frozen right away, unless the AMLC and top officials of the Aquino government do not want to antagonize those responsible for the money coming into the Philippines.

* * * *

PROTECTION ASSURED THE MONEY LAUNDERERS? And that, exactly, is where the real scary problem lies in this US $100 million caper. Did we really think that whoever masterminded or engineered the stealing of such a huge money, from the US Federal Reserve Bank yet, and then caused its entry into Philippine banks, would be daring enough to do it here in the Philippines if they are not assured of protection, or of successfully getting that amount for themselves?

Yes, RCBC and AMLC officials have a lot of explaining to do here, but then, I am sure top officials of the Aquino government, from President Aquino down to his finance and monetary experts, would need to explain a lot of things, too. For example, what was the role of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which oversees the operation of casinos in the country, in this scandal?

Can we believe that PAGCOR did not have any prior information, at the very least, that a money laundering scheme of this magnitude is going to be pulled off with the participation yet of casinos under its watch? Then, can we also believe that the AMLC, with its vigilance against politicians opposing the candidates in the 2016 elections of the Aquino government, did not likewise have any prior inkling this was going to happen?

* * * *

ONCE AGAIN, SMALL FRIES WOULD BE THE ONLY ONE PENALIZED: It must be very significant that this laundering of some US $100 million actually started early 2015 yet, with the opening of the dollar accounts of those who are now being touted as the owners of the bank deposits where the money was subsequently deposited, almost right after it was stolen from the US Federal Reserve Bank, and then hastily withdrawn.

I am not willing to believe that during all the time that the dollar accounts were opened until they were filled with the US $100 million stolen money early February 2016, no information of any sort on the matter leaked outside of RCBC and the AMLC. There must have been loose talks of one kind or another about this, but it is clear that no one paid any attention.

What would be ultimately disappointing about this is the fact that, as usual, only the small fries who merely acted as pawns of the brains and the big muscle in the commission of a big crime such as the laundering of about P5 billion would be punished and made the fall guys. The real brains and big muscle will once again go scot-free, enabling them to find other schemes to rake in money for themselves and their protectors and allies.

* * * *

PLEASE WATCH OR LISTEN: “Tambalang Batas at Somintac”, a news-commentary radio program, aired at DZEC 1062 kHz and other Radyo Agila provincial stations, at http://www.eaglebroadcasting.net/radyoagila and at www.youtube.com (type DZEC Radyo Agila Tambalang Batas at Somintac 1062 Live), 6 to 7 in the morning, Philippine time. Phone: 0922 833 43 96, 0918 574 0193, 0977 805 9058. Email: batasmauricio@yahoo.com.