By ROGER M. BALANZA
Senator Richard Gordon said money laundering by Chinese nationals is a “threat to national security” because the fund can be used to destabilize the Philippine government.
He warned that money laundering is a “threat to national security” because it can be used to fund organized crimes, destabilize governments and erode the integrity of the nation’s financial institutions.
Gordon raised the fear as he revealed that some of those found involved in money laundering were identified as members of China’s Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), who could be gathering vital intelligence information on the Philippines.
The PLA is the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and of its founding and ruling political party, the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The Chinese Embassy in Manila described as “isolated incidents” illegal and criminal cases involving its nationals in the Philippines and warned those spreading fake news against China.
In a privilege speech Tuesday, Gordon raised issues on money laundering related to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO).
Gordon earlier said some US$446 million (P22.69 billion) was “smuggled” by 47 individuals, mostly Chinese money launderers, into the country in a span of 5 months.
The Philippine National Police reported a growing number of kidnapping cases involving Chinese victims and kidnappers due to the influx of Chinese working for the POGO.
Police said they were investigating 2 Chinese murder suspects who were caught with identification cards allegedly from the PLA.
The government is also investigating immigration officials who allowed POGO workers, including PLA elements, to sneak into the country easily by paying bribes.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said there are PLA members in the country, based on intelligence information he received.
He urged authorities to validate information that some 3,000 members of the PLA are in the Philippines.
We need to validate this, this is not yet confirmed. I urge the intelligence community to confirm. Maybe they’re here for an immersion mission, we don’t know. For what purpose, we don’t know, said Lacson.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila described as “isolated incidents” illegal and criminal cases involving its nationals in the Philippines.
In a statement reported by the government-owned Philippine News Agency (PNA), the Chinese embassy said the Chinese government attaches “great importance to combating all kinds of illegal and criminal activities” and has been in close cooperation with relevant agencies in the country.
The statement came in the wake of reports that Chinese nationals are allegedly associated with money laundering, prostitution, kidnapping, and even bribing of Philippine authorities in the country.
The embassy dished out a harsh warning against those spreading false information against China.
The embassy said it opposes “any irresponsible remarks based on fake news and condemns any groundless allegations against China out of ulterior political motives.”
Citing the cases as isolated, the embassy said these should not represent the whole picture of China-Philippines relations.
“The Chinese Embassy has always been committed to safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in the Philippines and has been providing consular service and protection for them to the best of its ability. The Embassy is willing to continue to strengthen communication and cooperation with the Philippine side in this regard,” the statement read.
“The China-Philippines relations have maintained a good momentum of development, which serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples,” it said.