Comelec says AMLC to look into ‘suspicious’ bank withdrawals possibly linked to vote-buying

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 19) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday said it has endorsed to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) a report on “suspicious” bank withdrawals that could be linked to vote-buying.

Comelec acting spokesperson Rex Laudiangco said the poll body was notified of the supposedly questionable transactions through a letter sent by a lawyer. Laudiangco did not identify the concerned bank.

“Nai-endorso na po ng Task Force Kontra Bigay sa Anti-Money Laundering Council itong bagay na ito [The Task Force Kontra Bigay has already endorsed this matter to the Anti-Money Laundering Council], and we’ll await the report of the AMLC,” he said in a media briefing.

The AMLC earlier reminded banks and other financial institutions to report suspicious transactions during the election season and perform appropriate customer due diligence measures. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas also asked financial entities to ramp up surveillance efforts against electronic vote-buying and vote-selling.

Meanwhile, Laudiangco said authorities are also probing the recent surge in mobile phone sales, which is believed by some to be related to the distribution of money during the campaign period.

"Not only the NTC (National Telecommunications Commission) is looking on it, but also the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police)," he said.

According to Comelec, 73 vote-buying complaints have already been filed with its law department, of which 50 have been acted upon and 12 docketed.

Meanwhile, the Task Force Kontra Bigay has also received 88 valid reports through Facebook and e-mail. Of this number, only 49 were submitted with supporting evidence, the commission said.

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