MANILA, Philippines --- Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile yesterday said the Senate may be able to pass the last of the proposed amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) this week before it closes session in preparation for the May 2013 elections.
Enrile said he is confident that the Senate would be able to ''refine'' contentious provisions of the Senate Bill No. 3123 in the remaining three days so that the bill could be passed and be signed into law by the President in time for the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)'s deadline and avoid being blacklisted.
''We will finish the AMLA (bill). We have to (pass it) according to the authors. Tinulungan ko na nga sila nung last session namin to refine the provisions so that we can pass it because we're short of time,'' Enrile said in an interview over DZBB.
The Senate has three session days remaining to finish pending urgent bills before the election period for national candidates starts by Feb. 12.
Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, author of the bill and chair of the Senate committee on accountability or the Blue Ribbon commitee, said deliberations on the proposed amendments will continue today and hopes to secure the final bicameral conference committee report on the bill by Wednesday.
The bill seeks to expand the list of entities required to report financial transactions to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) that include casinos, dealers, pre-need companies, real estate agents, and trust and company providers.
''Money generated through criminal activity is often referred to as dirty money. This money can be 'cleaned' through the process of money laundering,'' said Guingona who served as a moderator at the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption's (GOPAC) anti-money laundering versus bank secrecy session.
''This process happens through legitimate means resulting in money that is free of its criminal origins. This is the reason why we need to strengthen the existing AMLA in the Philippines through amendments by legislation,'' Guingona said.