MANILA Senate President Aquilino Koko Pimentel III on Monday said the resolution filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV calling for an inquiry into potential violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act by President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio will be referred to the proper committee.
All Senators have mandate from the people. I will have to respect the mandate to a senator given by the people. If he wants to file something, we have to include it in our reference of business. We have a committee system in the Senate, it will be referred to the proper committee, he said during an ambush interview.
However, the Senate leader maintained that as far as he is concerned, he sees the whole exercise as a waste of time since it is just a rehash of an old issue.
Kung pwede sanang di na pag-aksayahan ng panahon kasi nangyari na yan before with different characters involved. Kung ganun lang, nakita na natin yung kinaratnan. So baka maulit lang, Pimentel said.
But it should be processed properly. Dito sa Senate, walang censorship dito. We follow procedure, he added.
On how far the investigation will go, Pimentel said that it would be the call of the chairperson of the committee where it will be referred to.
According to him, the most logical panels are the Committee on Banks or the Blue Ribbon.
The Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies is chaired by Senator Francis Chiz Escudero while the Blue Ribbon is headed by Senator Richard Gordon.
The person in charge of the committee is the committee chair. It will now be the call of the chairman. When he will schedule it, how he will treat it, who are the resource persons he will invite, Pimentel said.
Siyempre since we are all elected public officials, si chairman na rin ang mag-weigh kung may political repercussion para sa kanya kung bibigyan niya ng importansya kasi yung oras eh. I mean, ang dami nating kailangang gawin, he added.
Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito shared the Senate leader's sentiments, saying the Duterte bank account issue is old news and the Senate has many current issues to tackle.
Parang narinig ko na yan noong kampanya pa lang di ba? Lumabas na yang isyu na yan I think in the latter part of campaign about the said bank accounts, he said.
Pero para sa akin kasi ang dami na nating iniimbestigahan ngayon. Merong Dengvaxia, meron sa pabahay, at iba pa, may BBL kaming inaayos. So, kumbaga hindi naman sa ano pero old issue na yan eh. Right now, we have so many issues so many problems that we are facing right now. Ang minamadali namin yung mga legislative work kasi nga ang worry naman kapag ipinasa pa sa Senado yungimpeachment ni CJ (Maria Lourdes) Sereno, talagang maisasantabi halos lahat ng aming tinatrabaho dito, Ejercito said.
Besides the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Ejercito said he is focused on pushing for his pet bill, the Department of Housing Bill, and the Universal Health Care Program, one of the priority programs of President Duterte that he mentioned in his last state of the nation address (SONA).
He said that these priority bills might be put in the sidelines if the impeachment proceeedings against Sereno progresses to the Senate.
However he stressed that it is only his personal opinion and, like Pimentel, said that Trillanes is within his right as a senator to file the resolution.
In the meantime, Senator Panfilo Lacson said the Senate will definitely read the resolution and refer it to the proper committee as mandated.
But how it would prosper is another issue due to the Bank Secrecy law and the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).
First, ang sinasabing violation ng AMLA, magkakaroon ng violation kung may predicate crime. Di porke't lumampas ng PHP500,000 angdeposit sa threshold amount, automatic iimbestigahan, he said.
But ang investigation can be triggered kung may predicate crime na involved. Halimbawa, malinaw na ang amount na deposited nanggaling sa piracy, nanggaling sa graft and corruption, pwede yan. Pero nasaan ang predicate crimes? Lacson said, stressing that an investigation could not be initiated by a mere hunch.
Maski anong amount kung walang predicate crime, anong iimbestigahan mo? Yan ang malinaw sa AMLA. Kaya in-specify lahat napredicate crimes. Ang crimes na hindi covered ng AMLA, di pwede mag-trigger ng investigation, Lacson said.
Yes, babasahin. Ire-refer pa rin. Pwede pa rin i-hear. Kaya lang hamstrung ang inquiry ng Bank Secrecy Act at AMLA, he added. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency