May 15, 2012 · Posted in: General
SENATOR-JUDGE MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales failed to follow procedures she said were enumerated in the Anti Money Laundering law when she sought information relating to the alleged bank accounts of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Santiago was the first senator-judge to pose questions to Morales after she was examined and cross-examined by defense and prosecution panels.
Santiago pointed out that Morales had based her initial findings primarily on the data submitted to her by the Anti Money Laundering Council or AMLA, a financial intelligence unit headed by the Bangko Sentral.
However Santiago said the law that created the AMLC also set a series of procedures for anyone to access data from the AMLC. In this particular case, Santiago said the right thing for the Ombudsman to do was to have gotten a court order first before the AMLC could release data to her. To this, Morales said that the Ombudsman was empowered to seek assistance from any government agency in pursuit of an investigation.
Santiago asked if this meant that the Ombudsman can in effect ask the AMLC for any data on any person it wants to investigate, even members of the Philippine Senate. To this, Morales said it would depend on the case involved.
“You mean if you find that the filing of a complaint is warranted, you can just act on your own? You can just go to AMLC and get our records without a court order?” Santiago said.
Again, Morales said it would depend on the case involved.
To this Santiago shot back with “You are fudging your answer!”
When Morales replied that she was not, Santiago said that Morales was arguing with a senator-judge.
“I am sorry, mea culpa.” Morales replied immediately.
“I accept your apology,” an irritated Santiago said.
“Noted,” Morales replied.