PDEA serves freeze order on bank accounts, real properties of 2 suspected launderers

September 27, 2021 Alfred P. Dalizon 241 views

A FREEZE order on the bank and credit accounts, insurance policies, real properties and motor vehicles of two suspected drug personalities was served on Monday by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), and the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

The move was made pursuant to the freeze order issued by the 5th Division of the Court of Appeals in May 27, 2021.

PDEA chair, Director General Wilkins Mz. Villanueva said the 5th Division of the Court of Appeals issued a Resolution granting the Petition for the Issuance of a Freeze Order against the assets of Julie Hao Gamboa, alias Kimberly; and spouses Ruben and Teresita Taguba.

The freeze order covers 173 bank and credit accounts, and insurance policies; 17 properties; and five motor vehicles of the suspects.

Following the freeze order, officials of PDEA, AMLC and BOC led by Villanueva; AMLC Executive Director Attorney Mel Georgie B. Racela; and Deputy Commissioner Raniel Ramiro of the BOC-Intelligence Group, posted notices of freeze order on two of the suspects’ real properties which has a conservative market value of more or less ₱70 million in Quezon City.

On March 22, 2019, combined operatives of PDEA Intelligence and Investigation Service (IIS); PDEA Regional Office-National Capital Region (RO-NCR) and BOC intercepted a total of 276 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, worth ₱1.8 billion at the Manila International Container Port (MICP). The illegal drugs were concealed in tea packs and came from a shipment originating from Vietnam.

On May 31, 2019, PDEA filed a criminal complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against Xu Zhi Jian, alias Jacky Co, a Chinese national, and 16 others for the importation of the ₱1.8 billion shabu shipment. The case was also referred by PDEA and BOC to the AMLC Secretariat for investigation and possible filing of civil forfeiture and money laundering cases.

Xu Zhi Jian is the owner of the shipment that contained the ₱1.8 billion shabu. He has no registered businesses and properties under his name, and managed 70 bank accounts that transacted hundreds of millions of pesos from 2004 to 2019, including transactions with entities that are subject of separate drug-related civil forfeiture cases.

Julie Hao Gamboa was among the alleged cohorts of Jian in the smuggling of the 276 kilograms of shabu in MICP. In 2018, she was allegedly responsible for the illegal release of 105 containers from the Port of Manila.

Gamboa has no registered business and maintains a total of 81 bank accounts in different banks that transacted millions of pesos. She also has three properties and four registered motor vehicles.

On the other hand, Ruben Taguba was a former Custom Police Officer and father of Mark Taguba who is the subject of a separate investigation involving the shipment of 602 kilos of shabu confiscated from a warehouse in Valenzuela City on May 2017.

The older Taguba has 21 properties registered under his name, and made hundreds of millions of pesos worth of bank transactions using 21 different bank accounts. Taguba is also found maintaining a joint account with Julie Hao Gamboa which received 108 fund transfers amounting to ₱51,142,157.71 from the latter’s personal account.

“The posting of preservation orders on the two properties sends a strong message to potential drug money launderers that despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the PDEA, AMLC and BOC continue to intensify efforts against personalities belonging to the upper echelon of the drug trade,” Villanueva said.

“We will be closely working together to track down the trail of drug money, arrest and forfeit the assets of drug money launderers,” the PDEA chief added.

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