February 22, 2012
ANGARA JOINS SENATORS IN QUESTIONING 'PEP' CLASSIFICATION
During the legislative session earlier today, Senator Edgardo J. Angara expressed his concern over the practice of classifying "Politically Exposed Persons" (PEP) in the implementation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
"I have been wondering about this category of 'Politically Exposed Persons', and its impact and implications on a group of citizens being classified as such, in terms of credit extensions, withdrawals and special treatment," said Angara.
Angara, vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, expressed his concerns over the possible deprivation of credit and limited access to other services of a person included in this category.
"The banks could restrict credit because these groups would be deemed not credit-worthy. I'm afraid that because of this denomination, these people will have to wait before the banks consider their application for credit and other services," he said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson explained that the term "Politically Exposed Person" was not included in the AMLA Law, but was stipulated in Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Circular No. 706 issued in December 2010. A specialist group not under the AMLC, but under the BSP, is tasked to audit the bank record of PEPs.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile then mentioned a certain foreign bank which would not accept a deposit from a politician because of that classification.
"Then this is worse than I thought," said Angara. "This, in effect, constitutes a special witch hunt for PEP's who can be a subject for audits and whose accounts can be the first to be examined. I think you cannot think of a worst invasion of privacy than this."
Angara then called on the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies to make an inquiry on the matter as soon as possible.
"Instead of just implying deprivation and withdrawal of credit--it's even worse. Therefore I join my colleagues in asking the banks committee to look into this administrative memo that encroaches very deeply into the rights of the people," said the veteran legislator.
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