Senator Richard Gordon has revealed that an emissary of the so-called “Rodriguez group,” tagged in an alleged multi-billion money laundering, offered him as much as P20 million in “bribe money” so the latter would not be required to face the Senate inquiry into the millions of dollars suspiciously being laundered into the Philippines.
“Do you know that even bribe offers have been sent to me. Some say P5 million. Some also say P20 million so that I would not ask them to appear,” he said.
Gordon said the alleged emissary of the group offered to donate P5 million to the Philippine Red Cross, which the senator sits as its chairperson.
“I am chagrined, they really have some nerve, they think they can buy everything. I said I am not into those kind of things,” said Gordon.
Gordon’s committee, which conducts an investigation into the suspected money laundering scheme wherein millions of dollars are being brought into the country by Chinese citizens and Filipinos, subpoenaed seven persons who are reportedly part of the Rodriguez group.
The group is one of the two suspected syndicates that allegedly brought into the Philippines about P18.7 billion in alleged laundered cash.
When asked for comment on the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte absolving Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) in money laundering, Gordon replied, “Oh well that’s his. He can always say anything that he wants and we know that he can always say anything that he wants, but we can disagree respectfully the fact that he will respect that we disagree.”
Gordon lamented Duterte did not believe there was no money laundering.
“Mr. President, you are being misled by your people. You better check. You are a lawyer as well, most respectfully. And definitely, if you are to look at it, there were hundreds of millions,” said Gordon.
He warned that the entry of millions of money into the country is dangerous to the country.
Due to this, Gordon vowed to continue with the Senate probe into the money laundering, stressing “this is a democracy.”
“We don’t stop our investigation just because somebody is saying no. That’s not true, so what then would happen to our investigations here.? We no longer have investigations because if one person said… we will no longer act. That won’t work,” he said.
Gordon said when the Bureau of Customs does its job, they should be commended.
When AMLC does not do its job and insist that there is no money laundering not even suspect it, Gordon said “we are really are in trouble.”
He said the sentinels of the country are not doing their job. The sentinel of money laundering is AMLC and Central Bank.
Gordon guaranteed when his committee resumes its hearing on POGO operations, he will prove the big amount. He said there are enough statements made, enough documentation made, to say money laundering must be addressed.
He likewise disclosed that US$500,000 in suspected laundered money entered the Philippines Tuesday morning. He said the money arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.
“There’s another 500,000 dollars. This time from Singapore. There are only two places where these come from–Singapore and Hong Kong,” he said.
Gordon is currently leading an investigation into suspected money laundering scheme wherein millions of dollars are being brought into the country by Chinese citizens and Filipinos.
According to Gordon, the amount of money that was suspiciously brought into the country has reached $633 million or over P32 billion from September 2019 to March 2020.
Irked by the AMLC’s failure to act as gargantuan amounts of foreign currencies dubiously enter the country, the senator called on the agency’s officials either shape up or ship out.
Gordon pointed out that the AMLC could have seized the money, froze it, filed charges and wait for the court to decide if it is indeed money laundering or, at the very least, they could have immediately interrogated the individuals bringing in millions of foreign currencies, instead they did nothing.
Gordon said the AMLC officials’ failure to act is negligence or they are in dereliction of duty and they should either shape up or resign from their posts./Stacy Ang