Osmeña: AMLA amendment to be passed by January

by Kathleen A. Martin, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Nov 09 2012 01:05 PM | Updated as of Nov 09 2012 09:05 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Sergio Osmeña III expects the Senate to pass another amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 by January.

"By the end of January, we should have passed the law," Osmeña told Mornings at ANC, pertaining to Senate Bill 3123.

Last month, the Philippines evaded being put in Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) blacklist despite the bill still pending in the Senate.

"The team (Philippine delegation) was able to convince the task force that we just run out of time and to give us three or four months leeway," Osmeña said.

A previous amendment to the AMLA, Republic Act No. 10167, was passed in June, together with RA 10168, which criminalized terrorist financing.

The passage of the two key legislations paved the way for the Philippines' status to be upgraded by FATF to being in the "gray list" from being in the "dark gray list."

Countries in the gray list are those who have shown progress in addressing issues of money laundering and terrorist financing while those in the dark gray list are without sufficient measures for such.

Without the passage of SB 3123, the country once again faces the threat of being blacklisted by the FATF.

Osmeña noted that while the FATF cannot pose sanctions on the Philippines, being blacklisted by the international body may mean restrictions for the country from other jurisdictions.

SB 3123 increases the number of crimes covered by the AMLA to include real estate transactions, casinos, precious metals business dealings and investment funds.