AMLC freezes drug convict’s assets

Gerry Lee Gorit - The Philippine Star

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) implemented on Monday a freeze order issued by the Court of Appeals on the assets of a convicted drug personality.

The real estate properties of Rico Bacon and his wife Mary Ann in this city, Misamis Oriental and Metro Manila were covered by the freeze order.

Bacon, his wife and brother-in-law were arrested in a raid at their house in Barangay Bulua in 2017.

In 2019, Bacon was convicted of illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives as well as illegal drugs and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Wilkins Villanueva, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general, said they found out from the AMLC that the Bacon couple own 19 real estate properties, including houses in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental, and a condominium unit in Metro Manila.

Villanueva said Bacon is a member of the Ozamiz City-based Kuratong Baleleng gang, said to be engaged in illegal drugs and other criminal activities.

Bacon’s house in Barangay Bulua reportedly served as a drop-off point for proceeds from the group’s drug trade.

PDEA and AMLC investigation showed that Bacon, who also owned a construction company, declared a monthly income of only P15,000.

The ALMC said Bacon has bank accounts and properties worth hundreds of millions in pesos.

“We are doing extra effort para hindi nila mapakinabangan ang mga perang nakulimbat nila sa pagbebenta ng ilegal na droga,” Villanueva said during the destruction of precursors, essential chemicals and laboratory equipment in Valenzuela City yesterday.

“Pinupuntahan natin ngayon kung saan ang balon na pinaglalagyan ng pera nila at marami pa kaming ipi-freeze,” Villanueva said.

He said the seized assets of drug convicts could be used to fund anti-drug operations and rehabilitation of drug users and pushers. – Emmanuel Tupas

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