The lawyer of Vice President Jejomar Binay described as “libelous” a Philippine Daily Inquirer report that “Binay’s law firm” had sent more than P100 million to a Hong Kong firm through a remittance company linked to a money laundering scam.
The report carried hints damaging to the Vice President as it said that in remitting the fund the “Binay law firm” used Philrem Service Corporation (PHILREM), the company involved in the $81-million money laundering scam that victimized the Bangladesh central bank.
Binay is not involved in any way with the bank transactions, said lawyer Claro Certeza. “We can categorically state that none of the bank transactions mentioned in the libelous article of the Philippine Daily Inquirer involve the Vice President,” the lawyer said in a statement.
The Inquirer, according to Certeza, also courted legal trouble with the report that mentioned a matter covered by a gag order issued by the court.
The alleged “Binay law firm” mentioned in the Inquirer report referred to the Subido, Pagente, Certeza, Mendoza and Binay (SPCMB) law office.
The Vice President is not a partner in the SPCMB law firm even as his daughter, Makati Rep. Abigail Binay, is a partner-on-leave of the firm, the Binay camp said earlier.
The Vice President is but one of many clients of the SPCMB law office, said Certeza, a partner in the law firm.
He also said that the SPCMB did not engage in any illegal transactions.
“The alleged transactions of the SPCMB law office are but parts of legitimate business activities duly reported to several government agencies where the services of the SPCM law offices were engaged,” Certeza said.
He also said the foreign currency remitted outside the country by the law firm involved only two instances of $500,000 and “not $100 million.
The remittances were for another client. The Inquirer maliciously claimed it was for the Vice President, he said.
The Inquirer report in its March 17 issue quoted an Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) report that the Greenergy made in June 30, 2014, (involving $400.5 million) and July 2, 2014, ($310 million and $214.5 million) involving the sale of the company’s shares and purchase of shares.
In investigation by the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee, Greenergy is alleged as a dummy company linked to Binay.
Binay has tagged the Senate probe as black propaganda and “demolition by perception” aimed to derail his presidential bid in the May elections.
The lawyer accused the Inquirer and the AMLC of violating the gag order of the Manila Regional Trial Court (MRTC) Branch 53.
Certeza said the AMLC report quoted by Inquirer was the subject of a civil forfeiture case filed with the MRTC.
“Without admitting the veracity and provenance of the purported AMLC report, it is clear that the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the AMLC violated the gag order and the confidentiality provision of the Anti-Money Laundering Act,” Certeza said.
The “screaming headline in the Philippine Daily Inquirer is but a pathetic attempt to divert and diminish public attention to the most embarrassing scandal of all—the inefficiency and ineptitude of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and the present administration to prevent the US$81.0 million money laundering involving the foreign reserved funds of the government of Bangladesh,” Certeza said.
“By allowing itself to be used as a political tool to harass and persecute those opposing the current administration, the AMLC ignored its mandate to address the serious money laundering cases being brazenly committed by international crime syndicates in the Philippines,” he added.