AMLC executive director quits post

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2017 05:24 PM

Anti-Money Laundering Council Executive Director Julia Abad testifies at the Senate hearing into the theft and laundering of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The executive director of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), Julie Bacay-Abad, has resigned from her post following criticisms from President Rodrigo Duterte.

Bacay-Abad said she will "voluntarily relinquish" her post as AMLC executive director effective Tuesday, January 31.

"Recent developments that confronted the AMLC and its Secretariat gave me the occasion to realize that, though already resilient on its own, the AMLC Secretariat will be accorded with renewed strength through a transformed strategy. To be more effective, the direction that the AMLC Secretariat will prospectively take would have to come from a new leadership. This is not a decision that was taken lightly but I believe that this is the right time for me to voluntarily relinquish my post," she said in a statement.

The agency came under fire following Duterte's comments that AMLC is not cooperating in the government’s fight against money laundering. 

Duterte and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II earlier accused AMLC of sitting on the government’s requests for bank records of Senator Leila de Lima and other personalities implicated in the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison.

Bacay-Abad served AMLC for 10 years and was one of the key figures investigating the $81 million Bangladesh heist in 2016, one of the world's biggest cyber thefts.

Bacay-Abad noted that as of September 2016, a total of P4.061 billion worth of funds and properties have been made the subject of pending civil forfeiture cases initiated by the AMLC. 

She added that she will "continue to serve this government" in the best of her ability in a different capacity and expressed commitment "to provide the necessary support to the new head who will lead the AMLC Secretariat, and steer it to greater heights."