A MEASURE penalizing bulk cash smuggling and adding to the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s (AMLC) powers against money-laundering was filed in the House of Representatives Monday.

House Bill 6516, which if passed will become the Anti-Bulk Cash Smuggling Act, was filed by Albay Representative Jose Maria Clemente S. Salceda, Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita B. Suansing, AAMBIS-OWA Partylist Rep. Sharon S. Garin, Sultan Kudarat Rep. Horacio P. Suansing, Muntinlupa Rep. Rozzano Rufino B. Biazon and Marikina Rep. Stella Luz A. Quimbo.

The bill seeks to expand the coverage of the Anti Money Laundering Act (AMLA) to include one-time cash transport of more than P500,000 or its equivalent in foreign currency at any one time.

To ensure that the evasion of a paper trail for cash transfers “is not tolerated under the law”, the bill seeks to criminalize bulk cash smuggling.

The bill also appoints the National Treasurer to the AMLC to facilitate inter-agency cooperation.

Escorting cash smugglers will also be deemed conspirators in the crime of smuggling cash.

The measure also expands the AMLC’s powers of surveillance over airports and ports and permits civil forfeiture in favor of the Philippines of assets seized in cases of cash smuggling.

Quirino Rep. Junie E. Cua, who chairs the House committee on banks and financial intermediaries, said that the foreign currency declaration form does not ensure that the “one carrying the money is really the owner of the money.”

“It looks like this form… just triggers further investigation. It does not in any way compel a process of verification whether the declarations, as to source, as to purpose are truthful or not. There is no such mechanism at the moment that is put in place so that government will be able to find out where these money is really coming from,” he said in a House hearing Monday.

One of the provisions of the bill is to make declarations of cash transports “under oath”, which “effectively making misdeclarations perjurious.” — Genshen L. Espedido