Amendments to PH’s Anti-Money Laundering laws pushed in Senate

Robie de Guzman   •   March 5, 2020   •   1200

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday, March 5 pushed for amendments to the country’s existing laws against money laundering amid the alleged influx of foreign cash into the country which is suspected to be linked to illegal activities.

“The bringing of huge sums of money in and out of the country in past months with seeming impunity indicates the urgent need for action from our government, not just by the Executive but also by the Legislative,” Lacson said in a statement.

“Our authorities should keep up with, if not keep one step ahead of, criminals who are trying to do the same,” he added.

He said that while there is a “need to address the corruption that that is one big reason for authorities’ tolerating money laundering,” the gaps at the existing laws, such as Bank Secrecy Law and the Anti-Money Laundering Act, should also be looked into.

“There is also a need to take a long, hard look at gaps in our existing laws, including the Bank Secrecy Law and the Anti-Money Laundering Act,” he said.

Lacson also said that the amendments to these laws should also make sure that they cannot be weaponized for political purposes.

The senator said he has experienced such abuse when some of his accusers prompted him to waive his rights under the Bank Secrecy Law to belie their claims that he has dollars in his account.

“And acting from those experiences, I proposed amendments to the AMLA and filed a bill excluding all public servants from the Bank Secrecy Act,” he said.

Lacson made the statement after Senator Richard Gordon claimed in a privilege speech on Tuesday that some $447 million or equivalent to P22 billion were brought into the country from September 2019 to February 2020, based on the report of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

The sums of cash were allegedly carried by 47 individuals, mostly Chinese nationals, arriving in the Philippines from Hong Kong and Singapore.

Lacson-Sotto tandem to endorse 15 senatorial bets in 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The tandem of Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III has bared the list of senatorial candidates they will be endorsing in the 2022 national and local elections.

The list includes the following senatorial bets:

  1. Antique Rep. Loren Legarda
  2. Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero
  3. Senator Sherwin Gatchalian
  4. Senator Migs Zubiri
  5. Senator Joel Villanueva
  6. Senator Richard Gordon
  7. Former Vice President Jejomar Binay
  8. Former DICT Secretary Gringo Honasan
  9. Former Senator JV Ejercito
  10. Former QC Mayor Herbert Bautista
  11. Former DA Secretary Manny Piñol
  12. Monsour del Rosario
  13. Powee Capino
  14. Minguita Padilla

Sotto said the senatorial candidates included in their list are the ones who “deserve to be in the Senate.”

They will also endorse a “surprise candidate.”

“Tulungan niyo po kami sa pagtaguyod sa kandidatura ng ating mga kaibigan. Nakakasiguro po kami na malaki ang maitutulong ng ating mga kandidato sa ating bansa, sa ating mga kababayan, at sa Senado,” Sotto said.

Lacson and Sotto are seeking the presidency and vice presidency, respectively, in the next year’s polls.

Lacson-Sotto tandem files COC for president, VP bids

Robie de Guzman   •   October 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday filed their certificates of candidacies (COC) to run for president and vice president, respectively, in the 2022 national elections.

Lacson and Sotto filed their COCs past 11 a.m.

This is Lacson’s second try at seeking the presidential post after a failed bid nearly two decades ago.

Should they win the election next year, the lawmakers said they will intensify efforts against corruption and illegal drugs and ensure proper balance in the use of national budget.

“Kung ipagkakaloob ng Dios na ang Lacson-Sotto tandem ang mapipiling mamuno isang disiplanong burukrasya ang paiiralin, kabilang na ang maayos na paggastos ng pambansang budget upang makaabot ang biyaya at kaunlaran sa mga liblib na lugar ng bansa,” Lacson said during a short interview with the media after their COC filing.

“If we hold the reigns of the executive department we will able to execute it well. We know the ails, we know the solutions, balance the budget, budget reform, reign the money to the people, enhance the fight in illegal drugs by more emphasis on demand with reduction strategy,” Sotto said.

Lacson is running under the Demokratikong Reporma Party while Sotto is under the Nationalist People’s Coalition. Both lawmakers sit as chairmen of their respective parties.

Lacson resigns from Senate finance committee to focus on 2022 budget scrutiny

Marje Pelayo   •   August 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson has tendered his resignation from the Senate Finance Committee to focus on scrutinizing the P5.024-trillion budget for 2022.

Lacson, who sat as the Committee’s vice chairperson, vowed to keep a close eye on budget deliberations especially after the Commission on Audit (COA) red flagged several agencies in its recent audit reports.

The senator cited that COA’s audit reports indicate “blatant inefficiency, unconscionable incompetence and worse, probable misuse and abuse of public funds in virtually the entire government.”

“I trust that it is to the greatest interest of our people to once and for all, ferret out the truth behind these reports, put value to the oft-ignored COA mandate, and ensure that there will be no ‘sacred cows’ in making accountable those who have blundered the effective and proper use of public monies,” Lacson said in his letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

Lacson assured the Senate leadership that he will “actively participate in the budget deliberations and reinforce the democratic system of checks and balances.”

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