The Manila Regional Trial Court (MRTC) on Monday, December 7, dismissed a petition by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) that sought issuance of a new freeze order against assets of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“The court did not grant AMLC’s petition,” said Rico Quicho, spokesman for political affairs of Binay, in confirming the MRTC decision.
Quicho added that the MRTC has also ordered the AMLC to comment on the omnibus motion filed on Monday, December 7, by Vice President Binay which questioned the new forfeiture case filed by AMLC.
This only shows that the case being presented by AMLC has no legal basis to stand on, said Quicho.
Quicho reiterated his earlier statement that in filing the case the AMLC has allowed itself to be a part of the demolition team against Binay, a presidential aspirants in the 2016 elections.
Binay, earlier questioned the independence of the AMLC, saying that its investigation is part of the Aquino administration’s attempt to derail his presidential bid.
Binay also had been probed for alleged corruption during his term as Makati City Mayor by the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-committee whose members are allies of the administration.
The new petition filed by AMLC follows after the expiry of the 6-month freeze order against Binay’s assets issued by MRTC on May 11.
In the November 12 petition, AMLC asked for a new freeze order covering 139 bank accounts and 19 real properties under the name of Binay, his family, and some associates.
In junking the new AMLC forfeiture case, the MRTC also issued a gag order against AMLC and the camp of Binay, according to Binay’s legal counsel Claro Certeza.
We have to respect that as we will be cited for contempt if we grant interviews, said Certeza.
The MRTC gave credence to Binay’s stand that the filing of forfeiture case is outlawed within one year before any general election or within three months before any special election as provided by Republic Act (RA) 1379.
Alleged corruption is a major issue leveled against Binay, who is the standard bearer of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Binay, who is banking on his competence and experience to be the next President, is locked in a five-cornered fight for the presidency with Mar Roxas of the administration Liberal Party, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP), independent bet Senator Grace Poe and Senator Miriam Santiago. He has volunteered to the court not to touch funds in his account until all legal issues have been resolved, said Quicho.Quicho said that Binay was confident he would win in the case filed by AMLC.
“This is a voluntary act to show that Vice President Binay has nothing to hide, Quixho said. “He is confident in his position that the AMLC petition is not only illegal, but also a clear act of political harassment.”