MANILA -- Will the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) also seek to freeze the bank accounts and assets of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., and Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada?
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she is not at liberty to disclose the strategy of the AMLC as far as the senators accused of plunder and graft are concerned, but told reporters, "suffice it to tell you that AMLC is working on these."
De Lima stressed that forfeiture and asset recovery is an "integral part" of exacting justice in corruption cases, and is the fifth mandate of the Inter-Agency Graft Coordinating Council (IAGCC).
The Office of the Ombudsman earlier recommended the filing of plunder and graft charges against the three senators and other personalities tagged in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) "scam," one of the biggest corruption scandals in Philippine history.
Enrile, Revilla, and Estrada were found to have amassed P172 million, P242 million, and P183 million, respectively, from illegal kickbacks, according to the Ombudsman.
Seven others will also be charged, including businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, who is at the center of the corruption scandal involving "pork barrel" funds channeled to fictitious non-government organizations (NGOs).
The Manila Regional Trial Court has already issued an Asset Preservation Order (APO) on the bank accounts, money instruments, motor vehicles, real properties and other assets of Napoles, members of her family, several whistleblowers in the pork barrel scam, and others.
The APO indefinitely prohibits the "transaction, transfer, removal, conversion, concealment or other disposition" of the accounts, assets and properties subject of a petition for forfeiture of assets filed by the AMLC.