THAT the Yellows have used the template labeled “AMLC” to attack its major foes has been as obvious as it is sickening.
It was used to take out Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012 and then the leading presidential candidate in 2016, Jejomar Binay. The Yellow stragglers are now trying to use the same template to oust President Duterte.
The gang of former President Aquino and the Liberal Party has debased an institution that is supposed to fight international organized crime and terrorism and turned it into a tool to viciously assail their enemies. A cliché but certainly true: Only in the Philippines.
With Filipinos’ notorious short historical memories, not too many remember that the Yellows mobilized the Anti Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to create and disseminate the colossal black propaganda that then Vice President Jejomar Binay, the then frontrunner in the presidential elections in 2016, and his allies, had hid billions of pesos in their bank accounts.
After the AMLC’s lies took their course, spread especially by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) and the website Rappler, Binay’s standing in the electoral contest fell steeply from its 30 percent plus level in January 2016 to 13 percent on the eve of the elections. He landed last in the field of four candidates.
Talk of karma. Those fooled by the AMLC voted instead for Duterte, who won decisively—the only candidate it turns out now with the grit to exterminate the Yellows from the face of the earth.
The Yellows did deploy in the 2016 election contest the same weapon against Duterte, with AMLC “records” leaked to Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th. But the AMLC focused on the candidate the Yellows thought was their main enemy, Binay. In the first place, the Yellows’ scheme would be so obvious if it had attacked two presidential candidates, wouldn’t it?
It was the executive director of the AMLC’s secretariat then, Julia Bacay-Abad (who resigned last January) who was allegedly responsible for the agency’s mobilization against Binay. It is this same Abad whom Duterte the other day accused of leaking to Trillanes his and his family’s bank account records, which the imaginative but unscrupulous legislator tampered with so that these would show P1 billion in “transactions”.
It was certainly an instance of that adage: “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” The chairman of the AMLC then, Bangko Sentral governor Amando Tetangco—as well the council’s two other members, Securities and Exchange Commission chair Teresita Herbosa and Insurance Commission head Emmanuel Dooc—just kept quiet, while its executive director Abad did the Yellows’ bidding.
What the AMLC did in the last elections to torpedo Binay’s presidential bid was so brazen, we are shamed as a nation for not raising a howl against it.
Can’t they think of another scheme?
First, it leaked to a PDI reporter, Nancy Carvajal, an alleged confidential 62-page AMLC report in 2015 which said that Binay got “billions of pesos” from infrastructure projects in Makati. It was the newspaper’s banner headline with its opinion writers echoing the allegations.
Whether the “report” was a genuine AMLC report or a product of Mar Roxas’ lawyers’ creative minds, nobody could say to this day. A facsimile of the report was never published by the PDI. The AMLC simply remained silent about it, which therefore sent the message that it was authentic. A year later, and two months before the elections, the PDI would regurgitate the same article, and again put it as its banner headline.
Ex parte case
Second, rather than money laundering criminals —drug lords, big-time smugglers, and al-Qaida terrorists, the supposed targets of the Anti-Money Laundering Law—the AMLC threw its scarce legal resources against the vice president. It filed an ex parte money laundering case in the Court of Appeals, at the height of the election campaign period against Binay, who was way ahead of the pack in the presidential contest. “Ex parte” meant it chose to file the case on its own, not because of any complaint of any other third party.
The AMLC asked the court—which granted the appeal—to freeze not only Binay and his family’s accounts, but also those of his business supporters. The AMLC move was not just a propaganda project. It was also intended to cripple Binay’s campaign, by freezing his business allies’ bank accounts, so that the flow of campaign funds for the candidate would be choked.
In any other country, the prosecution by an agency controlled by the ruling party of the opposition’s presidential candidate who is the front-runner would have created so much public outrage. Not here.
That the AMLC may have manufactured data to convince the court to freeze the bank accounts Binay, his family, and his financial supporters became so obvious later on.
Abad had called businessman Antonio Tiu—a Ten Outstanding Young Men awardee—a dummy of Binay and included his bank accounts among those the AMLC got the Court of Appeals to freeze. Abad claimed that $20.4 million in foreign exchange that Tiu had bought from a subsidiary of RCBC was actually Binay’s. Tiu filed a perjury case against Abad.
RCBC told the court Tiu had no such transactions with the bank—in July 2016, after the presidential elections.
The AMLC of course didn’t work alone. It had as its co-conspirators in its attacks against Corona and Binay, the Ombudsman, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Rappler. It is the same conspiracy now that has Duterte in its sights.
That is what the Yellow Cult has been doing to this country. Invoking some noble cause, it has debased our institutions, even the press, in its desperate attempt to remain in power.