More prosecutions needed for PH to exit money laundering grey list — lawmaker

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 21) —The Philippines needs to solve more prosecution cases on money laundering and terrorism financing by November in order to exit from the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Davao Rep. Ruwel Gonzaga, budget sponsor of the Department of Justice (DOJ), told a House hearing.

"Mayroon na tayong Anti-terrorism Act, mabigat na nga ‘yun and we’re questioning even ‘yung ibang provisions doon. Even with this anti-terror law, hindi tayo natatanggal pa sa FATF grey listing?" Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas said.

[Translation: We have an Anti-Terrorism Act, that's loaded already and we're also questioning the provisions of it. Still, even with this anti-terror law, we have not yet been removed from the FAFT grey listing.]

Gonzaga confirmed that the Philippines has not yet been removed from the list but it intends to exit from it next year.

"We need additional prosecutions on the money laundering cases and, on the terrorism, financing cases," Gonzaga said when asked on the topic of qualifiers to exit the list.

He noted that the Philippines has only until November to comply with the requirements of the FATF

According to Gonzaga, they need more people to train and to have more mechanisms on cross borders control.

He also mentioned that they need stricter enforcement on casino operators.

Meanwhile, Brosas said that cases of terrorism were being tagged to different advocacy organizations that were not terrorist groups.

"Hindi naman po sila mga terrorists' organization, kaya kung ang thrust ay pagtukoy ng terrorist financing, para ma-comply ang FATF recommendations, ah, hindi ba may problema tayo rito?" Brosas asked.

[Translation: They are not terrorist organizations. But if their thrust identifies with terrorist financing to be able to comply with the FATF recommendations, don't you think we'll have a problem here? ]

The congresswoman then asked the DOJ to submit terrorism reports especially if there are cases in casino operations, to which Gonzaga nodded.