MANILA - Sen. Richard Gordon on Wednesday criticized the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) for its "deafening silence" on the entry of some US$447 million cash through airports in less than 6 months.
AMLC did not flag the "suspiciously large" amount brought in by 47 individuals even if the Bureau of Customs reported the incident, Gordon told reporters.
"The AMLC's silence is deafening," he said.
"It appears that the relevant authorities chose to turn a blind eye to the nefarious activities that come with the prevalence of POGOs [Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators] in our country in exchange for a few billions in tax revenue," he said in a separate statement.
Current regulations allow individuals to bring cash over US$10,000, provided they declare it to authorities through a signed document, but Gordon said the AMLC should still have questioned why one person was allowed to bring in cash-filled luggage at least 40 times in less than half a year.
"This is very alarming. Hindi natin alam saan talaga galing ang pera at saan dadalhin, ni hindi natin namo-monitor kung nasaan ang mga taong ito," Gordon said.
"The fund could allow syndicates to thrive and perpetuate criminality, exposes the country to and provides fuel for terrorism drug dealers, terrorists, illegal arms dealers, human traffickers, smugglers, corrupt officials and others to operate and expand their criminal enterprises," he said.
"It is also a threat to our economy because it can cause artificial inflation. Oftentimes, dirty money is used to purchase real properties which will cause the value or price of these properties to increase by creating the illusion of a demand when there is none," he said.
Gordon earlier said some Chinese money launderers have established "connections" with government officials.
"Walang nagre-report apparently," Gordon earlier told DZMM.
"I don't think it is being reported. Otherwise, anong ginagawa ng gobyerno (What is the government doing)?" he said.
AMLC officials are expected to be summoned to a Senate Blue Ribbon Committee probe on Thursday to explain their alleged inaction on the incident.