What President Rodrigo Duterte is doing in censuring and pressuring the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to cooperate with government is nothing again but an exercise of fearless political will very much lacking in past leaders of the country.
Acting as sole protectors of what is all secret in depository agencies, the officials of AMLC have been playing hard-nosed, as their role demands perhaps, even when the interest of the nation, and more so of the truth, is at stake.
This cavalier attitude did not and do not sit well with Duterte. The latter feels that those in charge have been obstructing instead of assisting him in his fight against money laundering, especially in the light of the scourge brought about by illegal drug business which prompting him to describe the officials as “hard to deal with”.
But while it may be true that the AMLC is mandated to protect and preserve the integrity and confidentiality of bank accounts, it is also, however, decreed to ensure that the country shall not be used as a money laundering site for the proceeds of any unlawful activity.
That is how categorical and essential the mandate is.
Thus, it is only reasonable for Duterte to get upset and express his displeasure over the monetary official’s disdainful attitude.
The AMLC is composed of the Governor of the (BSP) as Chairman and the Commissioner of the Insurance Commission (IC) and the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as members. It acts unanimously in the discharge of its functions.
Duterte emphasized it was imperative that “we cooperate in this government as a Republic to protect and preserve our people.”
“Do not make it hard for us otherwise I will make it hard for you. Simply I said, you failed miserably,” the president remarked in his scathing assessment.
I could not agree more with Duterte, especially when he cited his own experience when Sen. Antonio Trillanes accused him of having P200 million in bank deposits which he allegedly failed to declare in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, but which AMLC did not do anything about it, much less deny it.
No doubt AMLC was the source of Trillanes’ allegations, yet the same agency is not cooperating where and when it matters most.
Duterte’s scorching remarks to BSP and AMLC should prod them to get their acts together and not be humiliated over their zealous but scandalous participation in case fraudulent activities involving their people are found out to exist.