THE Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has deputized the Philippine National Police Drug Enforcement Group (PNP-DEG) in going after ill-gotten wealth of drug lords and their ilk in the country, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
According to PNP-DEG director, Brigadier General Remus B. Medina, they got their authority from the AMLC following a three-day deputation workshop spearheaded by AMLC Executive Director Atty. Mel George B. Racela.
With their new authority, Medina said that they will be able to further cripple the activities of big-time drug traffickers and other violators of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
“We are currently fully working with the AMLC to establish the money trail of all our big-time targets in order to arrest them and eventually forfeit their assets in favor of the government,” said Medina.
Thirty-seven PNP-DEG officers and men attended the workshop which was the product of an enhanced cooperation between the PNP and the AMLC which has already established a PNP-AMLC Intelligence Fusion Center in Camp Crame last February 15.
Medina said the AMLC-deputized PNP-DEG operatives headed by their intelligence chief, Colonel Jhoanna P. Rosales, will form part of their tracker teams dedicated to work hand-in-hand with AMLC officials in conducting financial investigation and if warranted, the filing of civil forfeiture cases and freeze order.
The official said that in line with the directive of PNP chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, they got the AMLC deputation following the workshop which also covered the mid-term assessment and road mapping of the PNP-DEG and the AMLC’s Sub-Group on Anti-Illegal Drug Trafficking and Financial Crimes and Investigation headed by Atty. Joeshias B. Tambago and Artemio L. Baculi Jr.
Also discussed during the workshop were the status of drug targets who were earlier on referred to the sub-group for financial investigation. Former PNP chief, now retired General and Office of the President Undersecretary Debold M. Sinas was the guest of honor and speaker during the seminar.
Medina said that another batch of PNP-DEG personnel from Visayas and Mindanao will soon be deputized to pursue criminal cases against “high-value targets” and their financial sources.
The PNP-DEG has been working solidly with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) headed by Director General Wilkins M. Villanueva in going after all identified Chinese drug smugglers and their Filipino contacts.
So far this year, multi-billion pesos worth of shabu have been seized by the PDEA and the PNP, along with other government law enforcement agencies in a series of anti-narcotics operations in Metro Manila and Calabarzon and Central Luzon region.
At least six Chinese drug targets have also been killed in gunbattles with undercover officers.
Last February 15, authorities enforced a freeze order on a property owned by the Parojinog family, believed to be behind the notorious Kuratong Baleleng crime and drug group, and seized a house in a high-end subdivision at the village of Guadalupe, Cebu City.
Villanueva led the enforcement of the freeze order on a two-storey house at the posh Nichols Park in Guadalupe worth around P5 million. The property is owned by couple Artemio and Daisy Parojinog-Salas who are both wanted for drugs.
Daisy is the sister of Ozamis Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, who was killed in a police raid in July 2017 in Ozamis City. Authorities are also going after several real estate properties owned by the Parojinogs in Southern Leyte and Cebu province.
Last September 27, the PDEA and the AMLC also served a freeze order on the bank and credit accounts, insurance policies, real properties and motor vehicles of suspected drug personalities identified as Julie Hao Gamboa and spouses Ruben and Teresita Taguba.
The freeze order covered 173 bank and credit accounts, and insurance policies; 17 properties; and five motor vehicles of the suspects.
The freeze order was issued by the Court of Appeals.