Money launderers

March 07, 2019

VARIOUS quarters acknowledge that people are seeing the importance and value of freezing the ill-gotten wealth of drug lords, who “wash” their illicit proceeds from illegal drug activities.

Many of these evils of Philippine society hide their money, making it appear that it was acquired through legitimate means, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Aware of this, the PDEA and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) have signed a memorandum of agreement aimed at strengthening their campaign against “money launderers.”

PDEA chairman Director-General Aaron N. Aquino, a retired one-star general of the Philippine National Police (PNP), and AMLC Executive Director Mel Georgie B. Racela signed the agreement.

Under the agreement, which was signed last Tuesday, March 5, PDEA and AMLC vowed to work in unison in the areas of information exchange and capacity building measures.

PDEA is the law enforcement arm of the Dangerous Drugs Board, while the AMLC is the primary government agency tasked to implement the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) of 2001.

They are members of the National Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee-Sub-Committee on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism and the Enforcement Cluster of the Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs.

Since 2011, the AMLC has frozen a total of P2.037 billion worth of assets, including local and foreign currencies, real estate and motor vehicles, from drug cases referred by the PDEA.

Like Aquino and other well-meaning Filipinos, we believe that there’s really a need to track down the drug lords’ money trail and prevent them from using their influence to evade punishment.

With the signing of the PDEA-AMLC accord, the government should be able to freeze the ill-gotten wealth of more drug lords as the administration pursues its war against the “drug monster.”