The Supreme Court has adopted the rules of procedure governing petitions before the Court of Appeals seeking an inquiry into or examine bank deposits and investments in non-bank financial institutions and affiliates that are suspected of violating the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
The SC Public Information Office said the new rules of procedure take effect today, May 31, 2021.
Under the new rules, a bank inquiry order issued by the CA should take effect for a period of 120 calendar days from the date of the receipt by the AMLC, and should have the same effect as that of a freeze order issued under the appellate court’s internal rules.
Upon motion of the AMLC and before the expiration of the 120-day period, the appellate court may, for good cause, extend the effectivity of the bank inquiry order for a period not exceeding one hundred and twenty (120) calendar days.
Under the rules, the government through the Anti-Money Laundering Council represented by the Office of the Solicitor General may file ex parte (meaning without notice to the other party) with the CA an application for bank inquiry “when it has been established that there is probable cause that the deposits or investments involved, including related accounts, are in any way related to an unlawful activity or a money laundering offense.”
The rules state that such ex-parte application must be verified or affirmed under oath and accompanied by a sworn certification of non-forum shopping personally signed by an authorized AMLC official.
According to the new rules, application should contain the account number, or any other specific description of the deposit or investment accounts sought to be inquired into or examined; the owner or holder of the deposit or investment accounts; the address of such owner or holder, the name of the banking institution or non-bank financial institution where such account is maintained, and their location, if known.
The application must also contained the ground relied upon for the grant of authority to inquire into or examine the deposit or investment account.
The new rules also said that the supporting evidence showing the existence of probable cause that the subject deposit of investment accounts are in any way related to an unlawful activity or a money laundering offense under RA 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act. Rey Requejo
“In cases involving a mix of banks with the main office in Manila or Luzon and local banks which do not have offices in Luzon, the ex parte application shall be filed with the CA in Manila. In cases where two or more local banks without offices in Luzon are involved, but one or some have offices in the Visayas while the others are based in Mindanao, the application shall be filed with the CA station where the main office of the local bank is located,” the SC statement said.
The CA is mandated to resolve the application within 24 hours from receipt of the application. A resolution denying the application “must state the specific reasons for such dismissal” and dismissal orders can be appealed before the SC through a petition for certiorari (a special civil action).
The new rules also mandate that the bank inquiry order issued by the Court of Appeals should be issued in the name of the Republic of the Philippines, represented by the AMLC; describe with particularity the deposit or investment account sought to be inquired into or examined, as well as the names of the account owners/holders.