March 4 ------ During a five-month period, 47 Filipinos and Chinese nationals flew in and declared a total of $447 million or P22.69 billion in cold cash as they entered the country, Senator Richard "Dick" Gordon revealed on Tuesday. Gordon, chairman of the Senate's Blue Ribbon Committee, presented the names of the 47 individuals who entered the country from September 2019 to February 2020 as he raised concerns on potential money laundering and other illegal activities.
"The classic thing about it is that they are matino. Pumapasok nang legal, idinedeklara na sila ay nagpapasok ng milyun-milyun-milyong dolyar," Gordon said. "Just because you declare does not mean you're not a money launderer," he added. According to Gordon's data, 46.98 percent or P10.6 billion of the P22.69 billion were brought in by Chinese nationals. Of the Filipinos had also brought in millions of dollars in cash, a certain Elizabeth S. Rodriguez made 45 declarations during the five month period and brought in a total of $34,653,832.
The cash was coming in from Hong Kong, Singapore, and Bangkok. The purposes declared for the money included foreign exchange transactions, travel and casino use, investment, and business use. "Tuloy-tuloy, lagare. It's an assembly line of bringing in millions and millions of dollars in our country," said Gordon. He also pointed out that the amount of cash brought in during the brief period was equivalent to the amount needed by the Philippines to settle its external debt to Australia, Canada, the British Virgin Islands, and Luxembourg.
Despite this, the Gordon was nonplussed that the Anti-Money Laundering Council seemed unalarmed by the influx. Gordon would open a Senate investigation on the cash inflow on Thursday.