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AMLC execs told: Resign or be treated like addicts

The Philippine Star
AMLC execs told: Resign or be treated like addicts

President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday threatened to treat officials of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) “as drug addicts” if they don’t resign for reportedly failing to provide adequate information about the finances of suspected drug lords. PPD/Ace Morandante

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte yesterday threatened to treat officials of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) “as drug addicts” if they don’t resign for reportedly failing to provide adequate information about the finances of suspected drug lords.

It was not clear what Duterte meant in treating the officials “as addicts.” His brutal war on illegal drugs has claimed nearly 6,000 lives.

Duterte said the council, headed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor, has not submitted its assessment report on drug lords to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). He threatened to give BSP Governor Amando Tetangco “a whack.”

“You know, you are contributing to the corruption of this country. You have reported to the NBI and submitted it very late. Yet you do not have the assessment report. You were placed there because you have a job to do,” an irate Duterte said during the signing of the 2017 budget program in Malacañang.

“You know, I’m going to charge all of you there, criminally. I’ll count one to three, and if you don’t resign, I will treat you as drug addict,” he added.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II clarified Duterte was referring to officials in the office of the AMLC executive director.

“He (Duterte) was referring to the people implementing the law, the office of the executive director and his deputy and the head of the investigation,” Aguirre told reporters in a chance interview.

Aguirre confirmed that AMLC Secretariat deputy director Vencent Salido was one of the officials being referred to by Duterte. He could not identify the other AMLC personnel criticized by the President.

The justice chief also revealed two of the AMLC officials are fraternity brothers of Sen. Leila de Lima, who has been accused by the President and his officials of receiving millions from drug lords during the campaign period.

“Until now they (AMLC) are stonewalling. They have not submitted their assessment, the analysis of the accounts. They only provided the statement of accounts,” Aguirre said.

Duterte threatened to “bring down” AMLC officials engaged in corruption. “What about our money? You are paid to do your job. If you cannot do your job, get out from that office,” the President said.

“But you know, you guys there are all corrupt, watch out. I will bring you down. Tetangco is about to retire, better prepare there (because) I’ll give you a whack,” he added.

“You are all corrupt and serving (a) master. You are not supposed to engage in politics. God damn it,” he said.

Last November, Duterte assailed the AMLC for supposedly making it difficult for the justice department to gather information about the transactions of drug lords inside the New Bilibid Prison.

The Department of Justice has asked the council to provide documents, including those that detail the supposed bank transactions of Sen. Leila de Lima, Aguirre’s immediate predecessor at the DOJ.

Duterte had said the AMLC has “failed miserably” in the performance of its mandate and is part of the “garbage” he wanted to throw away.

Later in the day at Clark Freeport in Pampanga, Duterte said he expects drug surrenderees to reach one million by yearend.

In a speech at the launch of a project seeking to involve mothers in community drug monitoring, Duterte said he has given Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III a new list of drug offenders.

He said those in the list were mostly mayors and barangay chiefs.

“Hindi ko na kaya (I can’t bear it anymore),” he claimed to have told the two lawmakers of his feeling of helplessness. – Alexis Romero, Ding Cervantes

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