An opposition leader has accused the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) of serving as an “attack dog of the Liberal Party” to erode the chances of Vice President Jejomar Binay in the 2016 presidential polls.
United Nationalist Alliance interim president and Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco challenged the AMLC to show its independence by looking into the bank accounts of LP officials and administration allies who are also implicated in various graft cases.
“If the AMLC is not being used by the Liberal Party, it should show proof that it also made an effort to look into the bank accounts of the administration allies who are also involved in large-scale corruption scandals and scams,” Tiangco said.
Doing so would prove that the AMLC is not playing politics in running after politicians who are perceived as threat to whoever will be the administration standard bearer for next year’s elections, he added.
Malacañang, for its part, said it will be leave it up to the Vice President on whether he should resign from the Cabinet following the AMLC’s decision to freeze his bank accounts.
“That’s a decision that is left up to him,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.
“Whenever we’re always asked about resignations, that is a question that is better posed to the person who is the subject of the call to resign,” she added.
Valte was mum when asked if the controversies surrounding Binay has affected his working relationship with President Benigno Aquino III.
“I am not aware of any personal statement that has been expressed by the President relative to this, apart from the Liberal Party does not have anything to do with the AMLC report,” Valte said.
“Whether it has affected their relationship, I have not seen them in the last few times that they have met, so I am not in a position to judge whether it has been affected,” she added.
Tiangco maintained that AMLC should also train its guns on administration officials and allies who have been implicated in the alleged misuse of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as well as the discredited Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles earlier tagged Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, an LP stalwart, as the mastermind of the pork barrel scam.
“High-ranking members of the Liberal Party have been involved in a string of multi-billion peso under-the-table deals since President Aquino assumed office in 2010 but the administration has not lifted a finger to file and pursue cases against them,” Tiangco said.
Tiangco said he believes the scandal does not stop with Abad but could even go to the top of the LP hierarchy.
He accused the administration of using the Binay issue as a smokescreen to deflect attention from the wrongdoings of LP officials and allies.
The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said Binay “should not be used to cover-up the far bigger systemic corruption” committed by the administration.
“Even as we seek truth and accountability with regard to the Binays, we reiterate our demand that everyone involved should be held accountable,” Bayan said in a statement.
“Those who have long misused public funds and/or juggled the national budget for illegal and self-serving ends should also be held accountable, from President Benigno Aquino III to Budget Secretary Butch Abad as well as the administration allies who have been tagged as clients of Janet Napoles,” the leftist alliance added.