MANILA, Philippines – The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) must explain how it generated and vetted data on Chief Justice Renato Corona’s 82 dollar accounts, which allegedly contained $12 million in fresh deposits, University of the Philippines professor Prospero de Vera III said on Wednesday.
De Vera said the AMLC must be able to back up its report on Corona’s accounts, which was presented by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales in the impeachment trial.
“AMLC can clarify a lot of the issues which the Ombudsman is in no position to explain because she is not from AMLC. How the information is generated and vetted - only the AMLC knows how it is done,” he said in an ANC interview.
De Vera said the AMLC does not have a good track record, citing its failure to run after erring government officials during the Arroyo administration.
"Remember the AMLC does not have a good track record in the past. Many accusations have been raised during the Arroyo administration where the AMLC was silent, or did not do anything, did not go out and investigate and you have an Ombudsman who never used those powers to investigate either," he said on ANC.
"We cannot even attach a face to this AMLC. It is surprising for an office that is so powerful and where public interest is so important at this point of our political history, we have faceless institutions who don't speak. So it is logical therefore that people become suspicious and the only way to clarify this is for AMLC to show up and explain," he added.
'Breath of fresh air'
The UP professor, meanwhile, described as a “breath of fresh air” Ombudsman Morales’ investigation into Corona’s alleged dollar accounts.
He said Morales’ actions are vastly different from her predecessor’s, Merceditas Gutierrez, who “never even lifted a finger to investigate erring public officials.”
De Vera said the Corona trial is actually being sidetracked by highly politicized issues such as the extent of the powers of the Ombudsman.
He said that under the law, the Ombudsman is supposed to have extensive powers to investigate all public officials, being the watchdog agency of government.
On the other hand, he admitted that the timing of the Ombudsman’s investigation might be questioned by some quarters.
“Whether the timing was proper is a gray area. Whether the actions are supposed to be used for another impeachment complaint is another one,” he said.