President Rodrigo Duterte is planning to have a confrontation with Armand Tetangco Jr. and other officials of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to forced them to reveal the billions in dirt money that they have refused to act on.
“I’d like to address myself to the Central Bank guys and the AMLA. Alam mo, I’d like to warn you, to avoid a confrontation between us, Central Bank people. You’re also a part of the garbage which I resent to this day. And do not give me a reason to have a confrontation with you. Palabas ninyo ‘yung ano ang mali diyan,” said Duterte in a speech at the National Bureau of Investigation Monday night.
“There are billions stashed there in the banks, were really being washed or just being kept there in the meantime. Go to the Secretary of Justice, the AMLA guys, explain to us in public or I will do the explaining for you. Choose,” said Duterte.
Duterte is frustrated that drug lords have been using the local banking system to conduct their illicit financial transactions under the very noses of the BSP and AMLC.
Tetangco, the highest paid government official and a multi-awarded central banker in the world, is the longest serving BSP Governor – he was first appointed in 2005 by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; he was appointed to a second six year term in 2011 by then President Noynoy Aquino.
Duterte echoed Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre’s complaint that the AMLC gave him a hard time when he asked for bank records that would pin down the drug lords operating inside the National Bilibid Prison under the alleged protection of Sen. Leila de Lima.
Aguirre was puzzled why the BSP and AMLC were quick to furnish or leak bank details of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona and former Vice President Jejomar Binay but have come up zero with other cases, especially drug money.
The BSP and AMLC’s incompetence were highlighted recently when cyberthieves used local banks as depository for the $85 million they stole from the Bank of Bangladesh last February. Up to now, Tetangco has only worsened the country’s embarrassment from the incident as the banks have only returned $15 million to Bangladesh.
Duterte believed that the BSP and AMLC must be “protecting somebody” when it has not caught any big drug lords under Tetangco’s 12 years in office despite the flourishing drug trade in the country worth over 200 billion a year.
”I will call for you and you have to answer so many questions to me. You choose, either we cooperate in this government as a Republic to protect and preserve our people or do not make it hard for us, otherwise I will make it hard for you,” said Duterte.