242 bank accounts, investments, insurance policies of Binays, et al covered
CA finds probable cause that accounts are 'related to unlawful activities'
MANILA (UPDATED) - The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the freezing of more than 200 bank accounts, investments, and insurance policies of Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Elenita Binay, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, and others linked to their family.
The 38-page CA order was dated May 11, 2015 and granted the Anti-Money Laundering Council's (AMLC) petition for a freeze on 242 bank accounts, investments, and insurance policies.
"Wherefore, the Ex Parte Petition for the Issuance of a Freeze Order is GRANTED. A Freeze Order is hereby issued, valid and effective immediately for a period of six (6) months. Respondent banks, insurance and securities companies are ORDERED to FREEZE the following accounts, including all related accounts wherever they may be found," the order said.
The accounts are in the names of the following people:
- Vice-President Jejomar Binay
- Elenita Binay
- Makati Mayor Junjun Binay
- Gerardo Limlingan
- Former Makati Vice-Mayor Ernesto Mercado
- Antonio Tiu
- James Tiu
- Ann Loraine Tiu
- Eduviges Baloloy
- Francisco Baloloy
- Daniel Certeza Subido
- Lily Crystal
- Carmelita Palo Galvan
- Bernadette Cezar Portollano
- Mitzi Sedillo
Several others with links to the Binays are covered in the order.
The freeze order also covers companies being linked to them, including Greenergy Holdings Inc., Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., and Earthright Holdings.
The CA concurred with the AMLC and found probably cause that these bank accounts, investments, and insurance policies were "related to unlawful activities."
"After review of the facts and circumstances as alleged in the verified petition and its corresponding annexes, this Court agrees with the AMLC that there is probable cause to believe that the individual and joint bank accounts of, investments made by, and insurance policies issued to VP Binay, Mayor Junjun Binay, Limlingan, Baloloy, Tiu, Chong, Mercado, Greenergy, Sunchamp, Earthright, Millenium, and OMNI are related to unlawful activities," the order said.
The CA based its order on the AMLC petition that the statements of assets, liabilities, and networth (SALNs) of the Binays and Mercado did not reflect their bank accounts and other transactions.
"The SALNs of VP Vinay and his wife Elenita, Mayor Junjun Binay, Eduviges Baloloy and Ernesto Mercado show their respective net worth from 2007-2013 to be disproportionate to the values, frequency and complexity of their banking and other transactions," the freeze order said.
The AMLC's probe arose out of the Senate hearings on the supposed overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2.
The CA has also ordered all the banks, insurance, and investment institutions covered by the freeze order to submit their reports within 24 hours after they receive the freeze order.
BINAY CAMP: ALL ABOUT 2016
A day after the CA issued the freeze order, the Binay camp issued a press statement claiming that the vice-president's political opponents are using the AMLC report for "political gains."
Binay's spokesman Joey Salgado alleged that the AMLC investigation is connected to the 2016 national elections.
“This is all about the 2016 presidential election. This is all about unleashing the agencies of government to harass and malign the Vice President in the hope- however dim – that the LP's presumptive candidate will benefit from the demolition campaign,” he said.
Salgado declined to confirm the AMLC report, which served as basis for the CA's freeze order. He said court proceedings involving money laundering allegations are highly confidential.
He also accused the ruling Liberal Party (LP) of leaking the information.
“The Liberal Party has been obsessed with attacking the Vice President. The LP has been aggressively harnessing government resources and agencies against the Vice President and his family ever since he declared his intention to run for President in 2016. The AMLC is apparently one of these agencies,” he said in the press statement.
Salgado said Binay is ready to the face the issue and claimed that the AMLC report is "baseless."
The AMLC earlier petitioned the CA to grant permission to access and examine Binay's bank accounts and those of his family, corporations, and a law office connected to his family, a source earlier said.
Aside from a freeze order, civil forfeiture proceedings may be initiated before a trial court, if the AMLC deems this warranted.
Under section 4 of the Republic Act (RA) No. 9160, also known as the "Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001," money laundering is defined as "a crime whereby the proceeds of an unlawful activity are transacted, thereby making them appear to have originated from legitimate sources."
Under the said law, the AMLC are vested with the following authorities:
(1) require and receive covered transaction reports from covered institutions;
(2) issue orders to determine the true identity of the owner of any monetary instrument or property subject of a covered transaction report;
(3) institute civil forfeiture proceedings and all other remedial proceedings through the Office of the Solicitor General;
(4) cause the filing of complaints with the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the Ombudsman for the prosecution of money laundering offenses;
(5) initiate investigations of covered transactions, money laundering activities and other violations of this Act;
(6) freeze any monetary instrument or property alleged to be proceeds of any unlawful activity; and
(10) enlist the assistance of any branch, department, bureau, office, agency or instrumentality of the government, including government-owned and -controlled corporations, in undertaking any and all anti-money laundering operations, which may include the use of its personnel, facilities and resources for the more resolute prevention, detection and investigation of money laundering offenses and prosecution of offenders.
Money laundering is committed by the following:
(a) Any person knowing that any monetary instrument or property represents, involves, or relates to, the proceeds of any unlawful activity, transacts or attempts to transact said monetary instrument or property.
(b) Any person knowing that any monetary instrument or property involves the proceeds of any unlawful activity, performs or fails to perform any act as a result of which he facilitates the offense of money laundering referred to in paragraph (a) above.
(c) Any person knowing that any monetary instrument or property
is required under this Act to be disclosed and filed with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), fails to do so.
The AMLC is composed of the Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas as chairman, the Commissioner of the Insurance Commission and the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission as members. - with reports from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News; ANC