Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. (PDP-Laban) criticized yesterday the bureaucrats in the Department of Finance (DoF) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for going overboard in the crafting of the anti-money laundering bill.
Pimentel said the two agencies apparently want to placate the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which has threatened to impose sanctions on the country for the delay in the passage of the measure.
Pimentel said he can not accept the version of the bill reported out by the Senate committee on banks and currencies which clearly outdid even the antimoney laundering law in Switzerland whose banking institutions have been used by dictators to stash away plundered wealth.
The opposition senator expressed concern that the measure, if passed into law, could be used to harass innocent bank depositors unless sufficient safeguards are put in place.
Pimentel said that he is for jailing all money launderers but stressed that sufficient protection must be given to innocent depositors so as not to undermine confidence in the local banking system.
Pimentel questioned the bill's provision creating a National Anti-Money Laundering Council that will exercise broad powers to identify and look into suspicious bank accounts. …