Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Tuesday asked Congress to increase the penalties against banks and other financial institutions involved in money laundering.
Bangko Sentral Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said during the fourth Senate hearing on the $81-million money laundering case that penalties against erring banks should be increased as “the economy has grown.”
“To apply the issue of proportionality, there is a basis for Congress to consider higher penalties… imposable by the BSP because the economy has grown and there should be flexibility,” Espenilla said.
Espenilla said the increase in penalties should be imposed under the BSP charter and Anti-Money Laundering law.
Senator Ralph Recto said Bangko Sentral should make specific recommendations on the increase in penalties.
The penal provisions under the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 or Republic Act 9160 impose imprisonment ranging from seven to 14 years and a fine of not less than P3 million but not more than twice the value of the monetary instrument or property involved in the offense.
The penalty of imprisonment from four to seven years and a fine of not less than P1.5 million but not more than P3 million shall be imposed upon a person convicted under Section 4(b) of the same law.
If the offender is a corporation, association, partnership or any juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the responsible officers who participated in the commission of the crime or who have knowingly permitted or failed to prevent the act.
If the offender is a juridical person, the court may suspend or revoke its license. If the offender is an alien, he shall, in addition to the penalties be deported without further proceedings after serving the penalties herein prescribed.
If the offender is a public official or employee, he shall in addition to the penalties suffer perpetual or temporary absolute disqualification from office.
Espenilla said Bangko Sentral could also impose non-monetary actions and disciplinary actions against covered institutions.
Covered institutions under the Bangko Sentral include banks, non-banks, quasi-banks, trust entities, foreign exchange dealers, pawnshops, money changers, remittance and transfer companies and other similar entities and all other persons and their subsidiaries and affiliates supervised by the BSP.
Under the Insurance Commission, the covered institutions are insurance firms, pre-need companies and all other persons regulated by the agency.
Meanwhile, those covered by the Securities and Exchange Commission are securities dealers, brokers, salesmen, investment houses and other similar persons managing securities or rendering services as investment agent, advisor or consultant.