Press Release
May 13, 2015

Transcript of Ambush Interview with Senate President Franklin M. Drilon

Q: Doon po sa AMLC report kay VP Binay, may confidentiality clause po ba iyon? Yung privilege communication?

SPFMD: The Anti-Money Laundering Act is an exception to the Bank Secrecy Law, because that was the whole point of the debate when we crafted this law. That is the effect of the Bank Secrecy Law, which prohibits revelations of one's deposits.

Secondly, the confidentiality clause briefed in the Anti-Money Laundering Act prohibits the employees and officials of the covered institutions, meaning the employees of banks, or employees of insurance agencies - they are prohibited from revealing to the public what they report to the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

That is the prohibition, I repeat is on the employees and officers of banks or other covered institutions, they are prohibited from revealing the reports of covered transactions that they make to the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

The third prohibition is on the revelation of the filing of the petition in the Court of Appeals, of the petition for a freeze order. That is prohibited, because a revelation of that or a publication of that will allow the subject or the person against whom the petition is filed to just close the account. The filing of the petition ca not be revealed in public and they are prohibited from making that public.

However, once the order is issued for the freeze, there is no prohibition. The confidentiality rule does not apply because then you already infringe on the freedom of the press. There is no more public interest to be served by prohibiting the publication.

The publication is only prohibited when the petition is being filed because then you can close the accounts, but once there is an order, the freedom of the press provision will prevail. Meaning, the media has access to the order of freezing because there is no public interest involved. There is no liability.

Q: Does the documents have to come from the CA itself?

SPFMD: It is not anymore- it can be, but those are already public records. The court ordered the freezing, not the filing. The prohibition on the publication of the filing serves a public purpose, that purpose being the prevention of the closure of the accounts.

Q: Can media divulge the AMLC report?

SPFMD: Well it is part of the order of the Court which ordered the freezing. Those are public records. The freedom of the press is primordial in that case. There is no public interest involved anymore.

Q: Hindi po ba macocontempt yung mga magpupublish?

SPFMD: In my view as a lawyer, no. You can not hold the press in contempt for making that public.

Q: Ang sabi kasi, ang nagleak sila Mercado, so kahit hindi court ang naglabas noon o sa kahit anong paraan nakuha ng media iyon, it doesn't matter.

SPFMD: Yes, there is no prohibition on the publication.

Q: There is no breach of confidentiality?

SPFMD: There is none because as I will repeat, the freedom of the press is guaranteed under our constitution. At that point, there is no more public interest involved.

Q: Yung immunity po ba ni VP from suit maiinvoke ni VP sa mga bank account niya?

SPFMD: I am not aware that there is such a rule about immunity on bank accounts. The standard is provided in the law - when the petition is being filed. The position of the depositor has nothing to do with the validity of the petition in the Court of Appeals for a freeze order. Regardless of which - the Senate President, the Vice President, the President of the Republic, the Speaker of the House, a Senator - the position of the depositor is not a consideration as to whether or not there is basis to issue a freeze order.

Q: Does it mean ba na may nakita ang court na strong evidence?

SPFMD: Yes. That's the premise. Otherwise, the freeze order would not be granted.

Q: So VP is in trouble? Parang serious na itong allegation na ito?

SPFMD: That is a matter for the court to decide.

Q: Sa COA report on consultancy, na-review nyo na po ba?

SPFMD: Hindi pa as the exit conference is going to take on Monday.

Q: Pero nag-submit na ng report si Secretary Yabes?

SPFMD: Hindi pa. Ang report niya ay he will sit down in the previously scheduled exit conference.

Q: Ano bang process when a senator exceeded on his budget?

SPFMD: I don't want to jump on that because there will be an exit conference.

Q: On UNA's allegations that the LP is behind the AMLC order

SPFMD: We have nothing to do with that. The members of the AMLC are professionals, the Bangko Sentral governor is, the SEC officials are professionals. They are not partisan. Of course, kapag malapit na ang election, lahat po ito ay lumalabas. We have nothing to do with that. Of course, we expect this because this is par for the course. Malapit na ang halalan kaya lumalabas ang mga ito.

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