AMLC, NBI to probe Luzon Development Bank over alleged hidden wealth of poll chief

UNTV News   •   August 24, 2017   •   5593

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MANILA, Philippines — Representatives of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and the Luzon Development Bank (LDB) were mum when asked by senators about the allegedly questionable transaction happening in the LDB.

The senators were referring, among others, to the alleged questionable bank account of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista.

The management of the bank said they are not allowed to provide information in public due to the existing Bank Secrecy Law.

But the LDB assured senators they are following the regulations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and AMLC when it comes to suspicious accounts.

“Indeed the bank has submitted in the past suspicious transactions,” LDB president & director David Sarmiento Jr. said.

Based on the accusation of Bautista’s wife, Patricia Bautista, the poll chief has 35 bank accounts in the LDB.

She further alleged the balance of these bank accounts reaches up to P329-million, which she claims is contrary to her husband’s declared wealth in his Statement of Assets Liabilities and Networth (SALN).

In line with this, the AMLC and NBI are now investigating the Laguna-based thrift bank about the said issue.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Anti-Fraud Division claims it has discovered suspicious accounts in the said bank.

The NBI unit said, these accounts were opened in 2012, and closed in 2016.

“We also discovered that . . . sequestered company or surrendered companies under PCGG maintained accounts with Luzon Development Bank, ” NBI-Anti-Fraud Division Executive Officer Atty. Minerva Retanal said.

Mrs. Bautista’s legal adviser Atty. Lorna Kapunan said, one of the matters the poll chief should explain is why the confiscated wealth did not go to the central bank.

“Because by the nature of sequestered companies they are already determined to be ill-gotten wealth and therefore confiscated funds which should go to government banks,” Kapunan said.

It has yet to be detailed in the Senate inquiry the overall balance of the accounts, and where it was transferred.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, questioned the authority of the NBI to conduct an investigation into the said issue.

“The NBI is not above the law, they have to secure a court order before they can examine any account of any citizen not only of Chairman Bautista,” Drilon said.

Senator Francis Escudero challenged Comelec Chairman Bautista to allow authorities to look into his bank accounts.

“The only way is when Chairman Bautista executes a waiver of the Bank Secrecy Law. Many have watched his announcement that he is willing to open, and to subject himself to any investigation,” Sen. Escudero said.

The Senate plans to invite the poll chief in the next hearing on the matter to give him the chance to defend himself against the allegations. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

NBI exec, brother face raps over alleged pastillas scam

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed graft and extortion complaints against its official and his brother from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) over the alleged ‘pastillas scheme.’

Atty. Joshua Paul Capiral, NBI’s legal assistance chief, and his brother, Christopher John, an officer at the BI’s medical section, underwent inquest proceedings at the Department of Justice on Wednesday morning.

The brothers are facing extortion complaints under the Revised Penal Code, and violation of the Anti-Graft Practices Act, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and the Executive Order No. 608 which established the national security clearance system for government personnel with access to classified matters.

The two were arrested in an entrapment operation on Monday night for allegedly receiving bribes from individuals implicated in the pastillas scheme in exchange for exclusion from the charges.

Nineteen Immigration officers allegedly linked to the pastillas scheme are currently facing charges filed by the NBI at the Office of the Ombudsman last month.

The modus was called pastillas, derived from a Filipino sweet and sticky dessert, because the bribe money that some personnel receive were wrapped in paper.

The scheme allegedly takes advantage of Chinese casino high-rollers and offshore gaming workers who wish to be escorted to dodge the immigration screening process for a fee.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he has ordered a reinvestigation into the pastillas scheme.

“Considering that the NBI investigation appeared to have been tainted, I will order a reinvestigation of the so-called ‘pastillas’ racket involving some unscrupulous BI employees,” he said in message to reporters.

Meanwhile, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente welcomed the development and assured support for the drive to cleanse the agency of corruption.

Morente also vowed to continue its campaign against corruption activities within the agency.

“We will continue to pursue our campaign against BI personnel engaged in corrupt activities in coordination with NBI and other law enforcement agencies in support of President Duterte’s desire to cleanse the agency,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

NBI forensic team, nasa Jolo na para sa imbestigasyon sa Jolo bombings

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2020

Dumating na sa Jolo, Sulu ang forensic team na ipinadala ng National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) para tumulong sa pagsasagawa ng imbestigasyon sa nangyaring magkasunod na pagsabog doon noong Lunes.

Ayon kay Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, inatasan na niya ang grupo na i-secure ang pinangyarihan ng pagsabog pati na ang mga ebidensiyang makakalap mula sa lugar.

May sampung araw ang NBI forensic team para magsumite ng inisyal na ulat at makakuha ng sapat na ebidensiya para sa pagsasampa ng kaukulang kaso sa mga nasa likod ng pag-atake.

“The NBI can identify the nationality of the alleged suicide bombers and their co-conspirators after a thorough investigation,” ani Guevarra.

Una nang sinabi ng Philippine Army na dalawang babaeng suicide bomber ang nasa likod ng pambobomba.

Kinilala ang mga ito na sina alyas Nanah mula sa Basilan at asawa ni Norman Lasuca na kauna-unahang naitalang Filipino suicide bomber; at si alyas Inda Nay na mula naman sa Tawi-Tawi at asawa ng nasawing suspected terrorist na si Abu Talha.

Ang dalawang babaeng suicide bombers ay kabilang umano sa mga sinusundan ng apat na sundalong napatay ng mga pulis sa Jolo noong Hunyo 29.

Samantala, tiniyak naman ni Guevarra na ipatutupad ng pamahalaan ang Anti-Terrorism Law ng naayon sa batas bagaman wala pang inilalabas na implementing rules and regulations para rito.

Na kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na rin aniya ang desisyon kung muling magdedeklara ng martial law sa Mindanao, partikular na sa Sulu, kasunod ng pambobomba sa bayan ng Jolo.

“If it’s an act of lawless violence, the president may use his calling-out power to suppress further violence under Sec 18, art VII of the Constitution. If it’s an act of rebellion, and public safety requires it, the President may declare martial law in that part of Mindanao,” ani Guevarra

Una nang iminungkahi ng militar ang pagsasailalim sa martial law sa Sulu upang mapigilan ang iba pang plano ng mga terorista.

Ngunit tutol rito si dating Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan Sr. dahil hindi naman aniya napipigilan ng martial law ang mga insidente ng karahasan sa lalawigan.

“Object kami dyan, ayaw naming. Hindi tama ang solusyon na yan, ilang beses na sinubukang mag-martial  law di naman naalis ang giyera dito e,” ani Tan. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Dante Amento)

NBI ordered to probe identity of body said to be Echanis

Robie de Guzman   •   August 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday said it has directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to determine the identity of the person slain in Novaliches, Quezon City, following claims that the deceased was peasant activist and peace consultant Randall Echanis and not Manuel Santiago as reported by police.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he also ordered the department’s special investigation team tasked to probe cause-oriented killings to look into Echanis’ killing.

He, however, stressed that the victim’s identity must be ascertained first before the task force starts its investigation due to “emerging confusion.”

He said he will refer the question on the identity of the body to the NBI Forensic Division.

Once the victim’s identity is verified, the Administrative Order (AO) 35 Task Force, which is assigned to investigate the killings of persons on account of their advocacies, will probe the incident.

The special investigation team was formed in 2012 pursuant to AO 35.

The Quezon City Police District earlier said that the person killed inside his rented apartment in Novaliches was a certain Manuel Santiago based on the identification card found in the scene and the landlord’s statement.

Another person, identified as Louie Tagapia, was also found dead along with Santiago.

The Anakpawis and other militant groups, however, claimed that one of the victims was Echanis, a peasant advocate and peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

The family also declared that the slain person was Echanis. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

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