Court orders freeze of Ampatuans’ ₱ 1 Billion banks firms’ assets, houses

Philippines - Court of Appeals on 7th June 2011 approved a 20-day freeze order on assets in banks and other establishments used by Ampatuan clan members facing multiple murder charges to stash away ill-gotten wealth amounting to more than 1 billion.

Listed in the appellate court's order were accounts in various financial institutions and businesses allegedly owned by clan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr. and his eldest son, former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan.

Eight members of the clan are among the 197 individuals standing trial for the gruesome killing of 57 people in Maguindanao in November 2009.

The court issued the 23-page resolution upon the petition of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

"We agree with petitioner that probable cause exists that the subject bank accounts and other described properties of the respondents in the petition are related to unlawful activities," it said.

"Unless frozen, the funds in the subject accounts will certainly be withdrawn and the other identified properties disposed of, thereby placing them beyond the reach of the law."

The resolution was written by Associate Justice Celia Librea-Leagogo, with Associate Justices Bienvenido Reyes and Elihu Ybañez concurring.

Assets in 32 agencies

Covered by the freeze order were the Ampatuans' accounts in 32 banking, insurance and financial institutions, most of them located in several provinces in Mindanao.

The court temporarily stopped the financial transactions of Deal Gems and Jewelries Pawnshop and Maguindanao Electric Cooperative, which the Ampatuans reportedly owned.

The order also involved the Philippine National Police's Firearms and Explosives Office, Land Transportation Office, Registry of Deeds offices in Davao City, Maguindanao and Cotabato City, and the provincial government of Maguindanao.

The agencies were directed to furnish the court and AMLC with a report containing bank account numbers with the names of its registered owners and amounts they contained, properties and other important information.

A lifestyle check carried out by the AMLC showed that Ampatuan clan members had engaged in financial transactions amounting to more than P1 billion from 2000 to 2009 which can be considered illegitimate because they were covered by spurious documents.

Andal's SALN

The council said Andal Sr.'s statement of assets and liabilities and net worth (SALN) did not include his real properties worth some P90.46 million.

According to the AMLC report, the clan patriarch owns 27 houses in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao, Cotabato City and Davao City. He also has 91 vehicles with an estimated value of P111.23 million registered under his name and his wife Bai Laila.

"It was concluded by the panel that even if the alleged undisclosed assets and properties were declared by Datu Andal Sr. in his SALNs, their aggregate value cannot be justified by the net or disposable income as derived from the annual income tax returns," the AMLC said.

The council said the discovery led "to the conclusion that he amassed unexplained wealth manifestly and excessively out of proportion to his legitimate income."

Zaldy Ampatuan, on the other hand, owns 38 properties worth about P58.48 million in Shariff Aguak, Cotabato, Davao and Metro Manila.

Above mentioned wealth of Ampatuan is still questionable for the rampant poverty of the area and alleged towering corruptions during their regime of the province.


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