IF the authorities want to cripple the operations of major drug syndicates, local and international, concerned government agencies ought to find the “money trail” of arrested drug lords.
That is the reason why the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) have signed a “historic” memorandum of agreement (MOA).
PDEA Director-General Wilkins M. Villanueva, a product of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), said the signing of the MOA is part of government efforts to go after “laundered” drug money.
The agreement was signed by Villanueva, a former police colonel and a member of PMA Class 1988, and AMLC Executive Director Mel Georgie B. Racela, a certified public accountant-lawyer.
PDEA, the law enforcement arm of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), shall refer to the AMLC all drug-related cases for financial investigation and, if warranted, seek freeze order and civil forfeiture.
The two agencies are committed to fully prosecute all arrested drug personalities and work for the forfeiture in favor of the government of all the properties, real or personal, of the accused.
They include properties found to be manifestly out of proportion to the suspect’s lawful income.
Likewise, assets reflected in the inventory, such as motor vehicles, cash and jewelry that are under the custody of the authorities, shall be forfeited, according to the PDEA director-general.
AMLC, on the other hand, will strive to cause the civil forfeiture of monetary instruments and properties believed used in laundering activities involving drug money.
We share the view of Villanueva that there’s a need to track down the trail of drug money, arrest the perpetrators and freeze their assets while they are being prosecuted.
As Villanueva said, let’s deprive arrested drug personalities the financial means to bail themselves out of jail.