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DoF, AMLC upping fight vs money laundering

The Department of Finance and the Anti-Money Laundering Council have renewed their firm commitment to step up joint efforts against money laundering and terrorism financing.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and AMLC Secretariat executive director Mel Georgie Racela signed an updated memorandum of agreement that aims to strengthen the cooperation and exchange of information between the two agencies in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting persons suspected of money laundering, terrorism financing, and other violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 200 , as amended.

Witnesses to the accord signing were DoF Revenue Integrity Protection Service Undersecretary Bayani Agabin and AMLC Secretariat Commitments and Policy Group Deputy Director Alvin Bermido.

“This updated MOA underlines the unrelenting drive by the Duterte administration to flush out money launderers and terrorist financiers and stop the Philippine financial system from becoming a harbor for their nefarious activities along with other AMLA violations,” Dominguez said.

The AMLC is the country’s Financial Intelligence Unit.

But unlike most FIUs, the AMLC is a hybrid FIU with authority to receive and analyze suspicious transaction reports, investigate money laundering and terrorism financing, and initiate the filing of forfeiture proceedings and money laundering cases.

This is pursuant to the AMLC’s mandate under the AMLA, as amended, the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012, and the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

The DoF, on the other hand, is the government’s steward of sound fiscal policy.

It formulates revenue policies to ensure funding of critical government programs that promote public welfare and accelerate economic growth and stability.

Created under Executive Order 259, series of 2003, RIPS is the anti-corruption arm of the DoF, which under the MoA may request financial information from the AMLC to support its ongoing probe into suspected money laundering activities and other violations of the AMLA by officials and employees of the DoF and its attached agencies, including their family members.

The RIPS is tasked to investigate allegations of corrupt practices of officials and employees of the DoF and all its agencies, such as the Bureaus of Internal Revenue and of Customs.

It investigates unusual or unjustified accumulation of wealth disproportionate to the earning capacity of government officials and employees; gathers evidence and files appropriate criminal, administrative, and civil complaints against errant government officials and employees; and assists in the prosecution of cases for the recovery or forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth.

The DoF and AMLC previously signed a MoA on information-sharing and capacity building on 8 July 2014 to facilitate the efficient investigation and prosecution of officials and employees of revenue-generating agencies, who engage in smuggling as well as graft and corruption.

The revised MoA further institutionalizes mechanisms for the efficient exchange of information.

“As the country’s situation evolves, so does the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing. This MoA represents another chapter of collaboration and information-sharing between the DoF and the AMLC,” Racela said.