THE enhanced anti-money laundering law signed by President Rodrigo Duterte has not only strengthened the financial investigation efforts of the Philippine National Police (PNP) , Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and other law enforcement units in the country but may also allow them, following a written order from the Court of Appeals, to utilize ill-gotten properties of terrorists and drug lords for official use only, officials told the Journal Group.
Under Republic Act 11521 which was signed by Duterte last month, properties including houses and motor vehicles of drug lords may be frozen and confiscated in favor of the PNP and the PDEA.
Officials explained that thru the AMLC, both the PNP and the PDEA particularly can request the court to take custody of an arrested drug lords’ motor vehicles which they can use in future anti-narcotics operations instead of letting these cars or SUVs rot while exposed to the elements for years.
Houses of convicted drug lords can also be taken over by the PNP and the PDEA and be used for official purposes provided they have the approval of the AMLC and the proper courts, the Journal Group was told.
Officials said the stronger anti-money laundering law approved by Duterte would be a big boost to the PNP and the PDEA’s war on drugs. In the past, dozens of high-end cars, SUVs and motorcycles seized following raids on secret drug laboratories or during drug-related arrests literally turned into ‘junks’ or ‘beyond economical repair’ after being exposed to the elements for years in PNP impounding facilities including those in Camp Crame.
The PNP and the PDEA likewise failed to preserve the houses of captured drug lords since they are not allowed to use them for other purposes in the past. It was proven in the case of a raided major shabu manufacturing facility in a multimillion-peso beach resort in Tanza, Cavite which has deteriorated after years of government neglect.
In 2017, the beach resort was ordered forfeited in favor of the government by Trece Martires City Regional Trial Court Judge Emily Aliño-Geluz. The court ordered the forfeiture of the 2,572-square meter beachfront property as well as the money in the bank account of defendant Li Lan Yan alias Jackson Dy. The property consisted of four parcels of land along the shore of Tanza.
Members of the now defunct PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) raided the beach resort that resulted in the dismantling of the shabu laboratory.
Li Lan Yan, together with some members of the drug syndicate, was charged with violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Republic Act No. 9165) before the Cavite court. He was also charged with violation of the same law before a court in Parañaque City in which he was convicted.
The AMLC said its investigation had revealed that “Li Lan Yan bought the beach resort using proceeds derived from his illegal drug business.” Recovered during the raid were 131 kilograms of shabu and 548.4 kilos of ephedrine, a chemical used in making the illegal drug.
However, officials said the drug lord’s property as well as vehicles including a speedboat have completely deteriorated for lack of maintenance through the years.
PNP chief, General Debold M. Sinas, said their new agreement with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) will help strengthen their financial investigation of drug lords and other syndicates as well as those financing the New People’s Army and other local terrorist and lawless armed groups as well as foreign-led kidnapping-for-ransom gangs.
The PNP and the PDEA headed by Director General Wilkins M. Villanueva last week seized a number of ill-gotten properties of known drug lords in Central Visayas as part of their partnership with the AMLC to cripple the suspects’ future activities.
Sinas and AMLC Executive Director Mel Georgie Racela led officials in serving a ‘freeze order’ on real estate properties and financial accounts of a jailed suspected drug lord in Central Visayas.
The freeze order was issued by the Court of Appeals on the real properties and bank accounts of Charlie Duhaylungsod Fortuna who has been described as a’ high-value individual’ in the region.
According to Sinas, two real estate properties owned by Fortuna as well as 10 bank accounts, identified by AMLC as related to the drug trafficking activities of the suspect were ordered frozen in favor of the government by the CA under CA-G.R. AMLA No. 00248.
The PNP chief said that one of the real estate properties located on Lot 2,Block 2, Valencia St., Vista Montana Subdivision in Purok 6, Bgy. Cubacub, Mandaue City was the scene of a drug buy-bust on February 9, 2019 where police operatives arrested Fortuna.
Recovered from the suspect during the 2019 sting were seven kilograms of shabu worth P47.7 million. The PNP chief said the other real estate property ordered frozen by the CA is located in Ozamis City.
An investigation showed the seized property is actually owned by Fortuna but he had it registered under the name of his aunt.
PDEA’s Villanueva also seized a P5 million house owned by a couple connected to the Kuratong Baleleng Group. The move was based on a freeze order issued by the CA on a house owned by spouses Artemio and Daisy Salas who currently have a warrant of arrest for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Villanueva and his men served the CA order inside a high-end subdivision in Bgy. Guadalupe.
Aside from the two-story house in Cebu City estimated to be worth around P5 million, the Salas couple is said to have other properties in Ozamis City and Maasin, Southern Leyte. They also have numerous bank accounts with notable bank transactions that are not commensurate to their declared source of income. The bank accounts are now also frozen.
“Our next move is to file for the forfeiture of their properties in favor of the government so that the government can use the proceeds in the implementation of its anti-illegal drugs campaign or rehabilitation and reintegration program,” Villanueva said.
Sinas has sought the help of the AMLC in training the PNP Drug Enforcement Group headed by Brigadier Gen. Ronald O. Lee on detecting the drug lord’s assets and freezing them.Publication Source : People's Tonight